Curriculum Rewrite

Curriculum is a Map, not a Destination

We have a lot of constraints in education: bell schedules, building walls, curriculum, etc. We are in the midst of rewriting curriculum in our district and it has me thinking…are we going about it the wrong way? Are we asking wrong questions? Do we need to reframe our questions about learning and where we would like our students to be when they leave our hallowed halls?

So often I am asked “How does this fit my curriculum?”.  I believe this is the wrong question for educators to be asking. We should not be confined to a certain route of learning based on our curriculum. The curriculum should give educators and students freedom to explore ideas, make natural connections and find learning. Instead it should be how is the curriculum allowing my students to learn. The curriculum should simply be a roadmap to the learning destination. Not the destination itself.

What if our curriculum was written with the ISTE Standards as the guideposts?  What if we unboxed our curriculum and no longer thought of it as Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, separate entities that live alone? What if we are asking the wrong questions: what should children be taught and when should it be taught? Instead ask: who are we teaching and how are we guiding their learning?

ISTE’s new standards for students are qualities of a learner we want all of our students to reach.  When I look over them, I see how all curricular areas could fall under each one. 

  • Empowered Learner
  • Digital Citizen
  • Knowledge Constructor
  • Innovative Designer
  • Computational Thinker
  • Creative Communicator
  • Global Collaborator

How do we get there? I believe we stop boxing up our current curriculum.  I believe we start finding ways to break the boxes down and allow more natural learning to happen based on qualities.  The skills and concepts will come because you can’t learn without them.  Let’s stop doing the work for our students by telling them what they will learn and when they will learn it.  Let’s start learning about our learners, what they know, what they are passionate about, and guide them in navigating the map that takes them to bigger learning opportunities.


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