Curriculum Development: IWP Principles in a Common Core Era
Dr. James Davis
When participants entered Bartlett 0034 at UNI for this 2016 IWP workshop, a white board held three questions:
- What will constitute curriculum for your students?
- From what you know and believe, what are your curricular non-negotiables?
- What foundational learnings or principles in English education ground your curriculum?
Clearly formidable work faced these teachers who had responded to a promise of time to plan and design curriculum that meshes their classroom aspirations with the reality of the current educational landscape. Opportunities to engage in collaborative talk and relevant professional reading, to research personal curricular interests, to create lesson plans/handouts/units and to share their work enticed them to sign on for the challenges of deep learning. One said, I need to find my own “why”?
Meeting for two days in August and four Saturdays during fall semester, seven teachers read and discussed and learned more about foundational IWP concepts, models and principles and their implications for teachers conceptualizing and designing curriculum – in whatever increments (strategy, activity, lesson, unit, course, etc.). Exemplary teachers want and need a longer, more professional perspective than compliance. Using a Plan-Act-Reflect (PAR) cycle, each individual developed tentative plans to implement, document, reflect and to report on during each Saturday session. For example, one wants to enhance her uses of writers’ notebooks; another is refining her use of writers’ workshop and mini-lessons in order to be a better model teacher and advocate for writing; another strives to extend her writing workshop expertise into a successful reading-writing workshop with 10th graders.
These engaged teachers have much to learn together; ideally we will all be able to learn from them as their work here informs their emerging leadership in our profession.