It is time for … Curriculum Mapping…

It is time to dust off the old spiral bound curriculum guide and take a good look at it. Can a document like this still serve the needs of our school today?

by zeitengewimmel

Licensed under Creative Commons by zeitengewimmel

Are there new ways to make this curriculum guide a tool that works with and for the teachers and our school?

I could already hear the moaning from teachers with comments such as:

  • One more thing to do
  • It will be painful
  • More paperwork
  • What for?
  • Another thing, we as teachers, have to put endless hours into… only to have it collect dust on an administrator’s shelf.

There has to be a way to make this task relevant to teachers and effective in moving the school forward in the 21st century.


Charting a Course for Curriculum Mapping

I started looking at curriculum mapping research and resources that are available. As I am trying to wrap my brain around the concept of the why and how of curriculum mapping, several main points are crystallizing themselves out of this immensely big ocean of information.

A curriculum map is:

  • an ongoing living, breathing document that is NEVER completed
  • a way to document evidence of learning, what learning styles are they addressing, what level of thinking skills are they expecting of their students.
  • a way for teachers to connect with their colleagues (one grade above/one grade below/across subject areas) and collaborate to create a student’s/class’/grade level’s/school’s learning map
  • web based, making it accessible to everyone anytime and anywhere
  • NOT a one time task to be completed and then left abandoned on a shelf
  • NOT only about the content entered in the map but ALSO about the analysis of data, the review and interpretation of what that means and the change and adaptation for the future because of these findings.

Garbage in...Garbage out...

I wholeheartedly agree with Sid de Haan who writes at De Haans’s Ed Tech Blog

I have one caution about curriculum mapping software: The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” still applies.  In order for curriculum mapping to be valuable, participating staff need to have a clear vision of what quality work is and be dedicated to doing the work necessary to complete it.

While searching about “Curriculum Mapping”, I found a very comprehensive site called Curriculum Designers by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. There is a wealth of resources to read, watch and download about the different phases of curriculum mapping.

Here are a few quotes and my summary from the video clip “Introduction to Curriculum Mapping”:

  • “Mapping asks teachers to reveal what they are actually doing in real time operationally in the classroom over the course of a school year and share it electronically with all other members of their faculty. What is going on in the building? It is immediate, it is authentic…”
  • “The reason of doing [c.m.]  is that we can make decisions about gaps, repetitions, standard alignment and students’ needs, and what century are we preparing students for?”
  • Difference between guidelines and operation
  • Have the history, know what to do next, improve the journey for those who follow, update your work
  • Share and collaborate across schools, countries

At the beginning of the school year, we let faculty know that as a school community, we will be developing a web based curriculum map. In October we rolled out Google Apps out to teachers.

In the last few weeks, I started meeting with each teacher individually or in small groups to go over the online platform (Google Docs-Spreadsheet) we would be using to collaboratively work on the curriculum maps.

Curriculum Mapping_ Grade 6

Google Docs Spreadsheet Curriculum Mapping Template

I also wanted to give them an overview of how we were envisioning the curriculum and some of the new terminology we were going to use.I put together an initial package that included

  • Definition of Curriculum Mapping (from the Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs & Ann Johnson)
  • Curriculum, the two sided coin (from the Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs & Ann Johnson)
    • Content
    • Analysis of the content
  • Old curriculum terms vs New Curriculum Mapping Terminology (from the Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs & Ann Johnson)
  • Elements on Curriculum Maps (from the Curriculum Mapping Planner by Heidi Hayes Jacobs & Ann Johnson)
    • Essential Questions
    • Concept/Content
    • Skills
    • Assessments
    • Activities
    • (we added a Resources and Standards column)
  • Several Examples of Curriculum Maps
  • Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Butterfly Graphic by by Learning Today
  • Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy  by Andrew Churches from Educational Origami
  • Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Graphic  by Andrew Churches from Educational Origami
  • Howard Gardner’s Learning Styles Graphic by Langwitches
Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster for Elementary Teachers

A BLOOMing Butterfly- Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

licensed under CC by Learning Today


Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Andrew Churches from Educational Origami

Blooms revised taxonomy

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Andrew Churches from Educational Origami

Howard Gardner's Learning Styles

Teachers were asked to do the following until the next professional development workshop in January:

  • familiarize themselves with the terminology
  • join the Curriculum Mapping group on our school’s Ning

Stay tuned how how curriculum mapping journey is progressing. If your private school has gone through the process, I would love to hear your ideas, thoughts and experiences.

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