GPS for ICS: Curriculum Mapping
GPS for ICS: Curriculum Mapping
When was the last time you read a road map? Most of us rely on our GPS to get us to new places or help us find an alternate route during rush hour. Either one will get us from where we are to where we want to be, but most of us will agree that using technology beats struggling with a map while we are trying to drive. At ICS, we have a new way of managing how we get students from where they are to where we want them to be. It is our new curriculum mapping software and it is an exciting innovation in organizing and planning classroom instruction.
Our curriculum mapping software was developed by Rubicon Atlas, an internationally recognized leader in the field of curriculum mapping. Atlas provides the online site for our teachers where they can access the software tools to create unit plans for their grade level courses. Over the next two to three years, all of our curriculum information will be entered into the mapping software.
What is curriculum anyway?
Curriculum is the blueprint for learning that takes the desired outcomes for a unit of study and shapes the plan to create purposeful, effective and engaging instruction.
Then what is a curriculum map?
A curriculum map has three stages: the Goals and Standards (What is the purpose of the unit?), Assessments (What is the evidence of student learning?) and the Learning Activities (How will the students learn?). Our curriculum mapping software also has a unit calendar feature like the one below to help teachers visualize the year of instruction and pace their unit lesson appropriately.
How is curriculum mapping different from what teachers did before?
Before we purchased the Atlas software, ICS teachers used several curriculum documents that had been generated over the years to organize the units taught in the classrooms. In order to make sure that all skills and concepts were taught during the school year, teachers had to reference and compare these documents to be sure that the necessary information was covered. It was a little like trying to read a map while driving.
This curriculum mapping software organizes all of our curriculum information in one place. And because it is an online format, teachers can check their curriculum content more easily and update it as new ideas and strategies are implemented.
What will teachers do with the curriculum maps?
Mapping is based on meeting set goals and standards and using assessments to ensure that students have achieved the goals. Our new software will allow teachers to quickly look at the year of study or a unit of instruction to see which standards were covered or not covered, see how they were assessed and adjust lesson plans accordingly. Teachers can also look at curriculum maps from the teachers above and below their grade level to ensure that necessary skills and content are being covered in a logical, developmentally appropriate way.
What standards are we talking about?
For many years, ICS has worked to meet or exceed Virginia state standards, so our mapping software includes those state standards as a reference. This does not mean that we will be giving SOL tests, only that we make sure that these excellent standards are systematically included in our planning and teaching. In addition, we will incorporate our own Outcomes of an Immanuel Education guidelines with academic, personal and spiritual goals for our students.
How will curriculum mapping impact my child?
The purpose of the educational experience at ICS is for students between grades K-8 to learn a body of knowledge in the academic disciplines in a biblical context. Curriculum mapping provides an organizational tool that ensures the lessons taught will encompass all of that body of information, structured into developmentally appropriate segments that will prepare our graduates intellectually, spiritually, and personally.