Reimagining Curriculum

Implementing Personalized Learning Over A Three-Year Period

In my first blog post, I referenced the start of Hawley Elementary’s journey toward personalized learning. Unbeknownst to them, the
Read More
Implementing Personalized Learning Over A Three-Year Period

How One Principal Introduced Personalized Learning in Newtown, CT

I became principal of Hawley Elementary School in Newtown, CT, during the summer of 2014. This was my second principalship. As
Read More
How One Principal Introduced Personalized Learning in Newtown, CT

TEDx Youth: Empowering a Community to Create Change, with Vision and Voice

Three years ago I faced a crossroads in my career. Previously, I had cultivated professional experience as a Spanish instructor
Read More
TEDx Youth: Empowering a Community to Create Change, with Vision and Voice

Video Interview with Silvia Tolisano

Silvia Tolisano is a colleague and friend who continues to inspire me and so many others on the meaningful way
Read More
Video Interview with Silvia Tolisano

What Does It Mean to Reimagine Curriculum?

Curriculum is a creative act — a journey we design to inspire and excite our students.

This category features how educators are leading transformations of an individual course, subject area, or schooling with their students. The goal is to offer curricular space for students to imagine, create, and innovate; pay attention to detail, practice, hone skills; and work through challenges that require both perseverance and thinking flexibly. All three of these categories are significant and interrelated.

Ideally, personalized learning curricula:

  • Identify goals of learning based on state/ministry/national frameworks that is written in student-friendly language
  • Develop questions or challenges that encourage students to think, problem-solve, and imagine
  • Design performance or product opportunities that mirror what people in the field and communities do
  • Use existing and seek out new assessment/instructional resources to support the development of every learner.

Implementing Personalized Learning Over A Three-Year Period

In my first blog post, I referenced the start of Hawley Elementary’s journey toward personalized learning. Unbeknownst to them, the teachers within the school had begun engaging in the process. Once I revealed to them that they were, in fact, engaging in personalized learning, they wanted to deepen their existing practice. Stepping Outside the Box I bought teachers the book, The Joyful Classroom: Practical Ways to Engage and Challenge Students K-6 from Responsive Classroom. We...

How One Principal Introduced Personalized Learning in Newtown, CT

I became principal of Hawley Elementary School in Newtown, CT, during the summer of 2014. This was my second principalship. As any new principal, I spent the first year surveying the lay of the land. I took time to get to know the staff and to let them get to know me. I learned the curriculum, assessments being used, teaching practices, and styles. Hawley’s culture was professional, positive, supportive and collaborative. Our mantra academically, socially,...

TEDx Youth: Empowering a Community to Create Change, with Vision and Voice

Three years ago I faced a crossroads in my career. Previously, I had cultivated professional experience as a Spanish instructor within high-needs New York City Public Schools that relied on Title I funding. As a second language learner and aspiring polyglot, I’d learned to recognize and wholly appreciate how healthy communication builds community through sharing of the self, which is an integral precursor to connecting fragmented individuals and societies. Brooklyn students...

Video Interview with Silvia Tolisano

Silvia Tolisano is a colleague and friend who continues to inspire me and so many others on the meaningful way to leverage technology in service to inquiry, idea generation, and creation. Her blog is filled with fabulous ways and examples of how to capture engagement, analysis, and exploration and make it visible to a global world. We were immersed in conversation around HEUTAGOGY  -- the study of self-determined learning. This was a new word for...

From Traditional High School Learning to Co-Creating Learning Experiences

And so we begin… August 11, 2017, the first day that the ninth graders came to experience Vista High School 2.0, we witnessed the beginning of our evolution from a large traditional high school experience to an experience in which students will be invited to the design table to help co-create their learning experiences. This means that as a site, we are working to ensure that students have the opportunity to: Personalize their learning experiences...

A Mathematical Power House of Ideas

math curriculum

By Allison Zmuda, featuring members of the American School of Tegucigalpa Math Team in Honduras: Steve McDowell, Karen Hesse, Carolina Martinez, Jacqueline Turcios, Sonia Amat, Roberto Segura and Roque Padilla. One of the predictable challenges is how relevant and rigorous the connections are to math teachers. Many teachers I have met are reluctant to provide precious instructional minutes because the focus is typically several grade levels below what the course expects. So when I came...

VIDEO: A Look at Interdisciplinary Curriculum with Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Working in Vista, Calif., I took the opportunity to sit down with friend, colleague, and author Heidi Hayes Jacobs to discuss interdisciplinary curriculum. Heidi has more than 20 years' experience in the field and shares insights in a number of areas, including the timeless aspects around an interdisciplinary curriculum and how is it evolving. Watch the video and also read the blog post I wrote this week, Interdisciplinary Curriculum: Timeless Read from 1989.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum: Timeless Read from 1989

I have the good fortune of being both a collaborator and a dear friend with Heidi Hayes Jacobs. As we continue to generate fresh ideas in relation to our work projects, she recently gave me a copy of one of her earliest books — Interdisciplinary Curriculum (ASCD, 1989). Though the book is out of print (you can buy a used copy here), it is timeless as educators consider the vibrancy of organizing learning through approaches...

Reimagining Middle School: Civil War Companion Book Unit

Personalized learning, and student choice. Creating a new Humanities-based unit focused on those aspects was my step toward reimagining middle school, and it started in my classroom. This unit brought the students’ writing to an impressive new level. Students chose their book, chose their writing strategies and stopped to write about important points of the book that stood out to them — not to the teacher. This produced amazing results and ultimately, a companion book. I...

The Power of Learning Principles

Written with support from Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins Picture a powerful learning experience you have had. Now describe what made it so powerful. Was it the opportunity to practice in front of a coach and receive immediate feedback? Was it because you had clarity on the purpose of the task and how it fit into a larger goal? Think about generalizations that come from your personal example. Now you are well on your way...