Students at Ben Rush Elementary School collect stamps in their school “passport” as they learn about world geography throughout the year.
The Curriculum and Assessment Framework defines curriculum as the work and learning of students. It involves instructional planning on the part of the teacher, the use of effective instructional strategies with students, and ongoing assessment of student learning. Curriculum provides students, teachers and parents with clear goals and targets for achievement. Out of this grows the work of teachers: instructional planning and delivery, and assessment practices that will support students in their development and learning.
Planning for student success begins with a focus on student-centered classrooms. Teachers build unit and lesson plans incorporating a variety of assessments with student-centered learning as a foundational framework. Thinking skills and strategies are at the center of student learning.
Key Points in Student-Centered Learning
- Students benefit when they help to design/implement instruction and assessment.
- Effective instructional activities meet academic standards and student needs/interests.
- Decisions about instruction are based on assessments of what students already know and can do.
- There is a strong connection between what students are learning in class with applications in the world beyond the classroom.
Characteristics of Student-Centered Learning
- Ongoing reflection on assessment of standards and learning
- Student choice
- Relevant connections to the world
- Student involvement in planning
- Student interests and needs at the center of instruction
- Student awareness of the importance of their learning:
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing it?
- What am I learning?
- How will I show my learning to others?
The teacher’s first step in curriculum planning is to develop a comprehensive plan for the units of study students will engage in over the course of the school year. With a yearlong plan in mind, the teacher designs specific units to help students reach the standards set in the Curriculum and Assessment Framework.