There are several learning models that I combine in order to create successful lessons for my students.  I frequently find myself looking for ways to make my lessons more engaging while still assessing my students’ needs.  I try to tie lessons into the background information that I have about my students to make them think more critically.  I follow the perspective of both Grover and Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and I am highly influenced by is Taba’s inverted model.

Taba’s Inverted Model

Taba’s inverted model focuses on assessing students first to find what the needs are in the classroom.  Once this is determined, objectives are created as well as content that is carefully chosen.  After the content is chosen it is organized starting with the simplest topic.  When a student has mastered the simple topic, teachers are to have students explore more about this topic in greater depth while moving on to more difficult ideas. (Henson, 2015 pp 158) Multipurpose activities are then added to ensure that the student has learned the information while still developing and exploring the more complex content.  Lastly, assessment is completed as well as sequencing of information.

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I can see this model being used effectively in my classroom on a daily basis.  By collecting data and background information on my students, I can understand them better and find the best way for my students to learn.  I try to use various forms of learning such as kinesthetic, auditory, and visual.  The math series that I am using allows me to focus on this model by taking simple concepts and allowing the students to move into more complex thinking by slowly integrating new topics.  As the students are working on these new concepts, I have incorporated multipurpose activities that require students to use critical thinking skills in order to solve a problem.  The most recent problem related to students constructing a building out of foam blocks in order to get a sphere from one side of the classroom to the other.  This required students to have knowledge of a simple concept as well as more complex ideas.  This was a sequencing task that was completed after the students were assessed for mastery.

AIM Model

This model is extremely simple compared to that of Taba’s inverted model.  However, sometimes all that is needed in the classroom is something simple.  Many times, it seems as though teachers lose themselves trying to collect data and background information on their students.  With this model, all of that is eliminated.  Teachers are to focus solely on the objectives.  The content and materials are selected first before the teacher provides the information.  The students are then responsible for completing related activities to reinforce the information and then they are tested on their mastery of the objective.

This model peaked my interest because of the simplicity compared to the previous model.  It is important to realize that not everything has to be complex.  By incorporating the AIM model into my curriculum design, it will allow me to focus on the key concepts that I need to teach my students.  This will allow for my curriculum design to become more direct in focus.  I must also keep in mind that I can always add more to what I am teaching by taking one concept at a time instead of trying to incorporate too many concepts at once.

Curriculum Design

It is crucial to have an understanding of curriculum design.  This allows teachers to have a better understanding of the curriculum and how to use it effectively in the classroom given a diverse set of individuals.  By using various theories and models, teachers can adapt the curriculum to accommodate the students’ needs.  By following Taba’s Inverted model, I am able to understand my students’ ability levels and adapt the curriculum to their needs.  However, teachers need to be flexible and sometimes switch the theory or model that they typically use.  I have found that when I teach math, it is much easier to teach with the Oliva model.  Although I still need to know the background of my students, I needed to be able to switch between the two models to ensure that I was teaching effectively.  I needed to state my philosophy and objectives and become more organized before moving on in the curriculum.  The Oliva model seemed to work well for my higher leveled students so it was important that I could then go back to using Taba’s model to ensure that all of my students were receiving the information at their level.

SMART Goals

Using the KASAB matrix, I have created the following SMART goals to aid in my understanding of curriculum design. For knowledge: I will be able to understand the theories, principles, and research behind curriculum design with a 90% level of mastery and be able to implement this information into my classroom by the beginning of March of 2018.  Without this knowledge, I would not be able to design my curriculum effectively which will inhibit my ability to be an effective within the classroom.  It is imperative that all teachers are able to understand how to implement different theories, principles, and research into their curriculum design.

For attitude: I will be able to positively incorporate multiple models into the curriculum design to encourage students’ critical thinking skills and confidence.  This will be monitored through student data and will be achieved by the end of May of 2018.  Grover talked about how it is important to find connections that relate to “big ideas”.  By finding these connections, students will be able to become critical thinkers as well as find answers to real-life experiences.  (Laureate Education, 2016a)

Skill: I will be able to move fluidly between several different models and theories in an appropriate manner while teaching and assessing students by the end of March of 2018.  This will be measured by collecting student data and comparing it to a control assessment.  This is a skill that all teachers should be able to do.  Without being able to go between models and theories, the students will suffer academically.  When comparing the perspectives of Tribuzzi, Grover, and Dr. Jacobs, I found that it is important to look at several different perspectives in order to come up with the best option for my students.  These three teachers showed me that although standards are important, it is essential that teachers understand curriculum in all aspects.

Aspiration: I will be able to design a curriculum that will engage students through various teaching styles while still being able to succeed at their level.  This will be monitored through students work and will be achieved by the end of March of 2018.  This will allow me to use differentiated instruction effectively in the classroom setting.  As Dr. Jacobs said, “curriculum is a plan and not a textbook” (Laureate Education, 2016a) and continues to explain that teachers need to be aware of their audience.  It is imperative that background information is collected not only about the culture of the students, but the academic level that each student is at.  This will allow me to gain better insight into what the students already know and which style of learning will help them to gain more success and confidence in the classroom.

Behavior: I will be able to use multiple models of curriculum design to enhance student knowledge and create more opportunities for students to become critical thinkers.  This will be monitored through student performance and will be achieved by the end of May of 2018.  Henson explains in Taba’s inverted model that multipurpose activities create those opportunities that the students need in order become critical thinkers. I am aware that I need to create more opportunities for these activities in my classroom to create more critical thinkers.

References

Henson, K. T. (2015). Curriculum planning: integrating multiculturalism, constructivism, and

education reform. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016a). Designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment:

Curriculum for your students Video file. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016c). Designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment:

Unwrapping standards Video file. Baltimore, MD: Author.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2014). Five core propositions.

Retrieved January 13, 2018 from, http://www.nbpts.org/five-core-propositions

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