For the past few months I have become increasingly interested in Kathie Nunley’s Layered Curriculum. Although I had attended a conference workshop several years ago presented by a teacher using the Layered Curriculum in her science classroom, it wasn’t until my fall Master’s class when I had to present on brain-based research and curriculum design, that I came across Nunley’s work again.
I continually question, as I think every educator does, whether what I am doing in the classroom is really changing with the times, or just using technology tools to engage kids in doing the same old things! As I make efforts to pilot a 1:1 laptop initiative, I have become more and more aware that, although I dream up great ways of using the web 2.0 tools, I need to make a fundamental 180 degree shift in my presence in the classroom. And I am feeling more and more like the Layered Curriculum is the guide I’ve been looking for to effect this change. Given its student centeredness, how could it not move the teacher from the sage to the guide?
This leads me to really question the circumstances of a portion of today’s staff meeting. Our school leaders require weekly lesson plans be submitted to them prior to 8:00 every Monday morning, and due to the fact that many teachers have been submitting MANY versions of lesson plans, they have decided to “standardize” (I cringe as I write) the lesson plan format we all use. So they have offered two “choices” for us to use. One is a very detailed, reflective-type lesson plan, the other the typical 7-point style taught in undergrad coursework. They have nicely formatted them into Word templates which we can save and work on from home or school, and submit either in printed form or digitally through email. Now, I agree, research shows that well-prepared educators who create a plan for what and how they will GUIDE students more successfully meet the goal of preparing student learners (or in the words of our administrators, “relate our teaching to the Standard Course of Study”). However, in a classroom designed to empower and engage students individually, like mine where I plan to incorporate the Layered Curriculum methodology, what happens to the 7 point lesson plan? How do I teach the way I passionately feel is the most empowering way, yet meet the requirements of my administration? I would love to hear what you think!
Photo Credit: Story of my life…