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  • Scott Connelly

Goal-based design

I read something this week about curriculum design that really resonated with me. I was learning about goal-based design and one of the questions it asked while designing your curriculum was “what is the mission of your school?” That question can impact the way you look at things. When I first started teaching, I took this into consideration unintentionally. I was teaching economics, and my school district is extremely impoverished. When I looked at our curriculum and pacing guide, it covered all the standards, but we had not made up our own; we just used the scope and sequence from another county, and though that may have been a time saver; it really did not account our demographics. The county they took it from was suburban with mostly upper middle class to extremely wealthy students, while every student at our school was on free lunch. You may think well it should matter because economics is economics, but I went to my assistant principal and asked if I can deviate from the plan. Their plan spent weeks on global economies, investment strategies and types of investment funds, but only a couple of days on financial literacy. Most of my students would never use that information; they needed to know about making a budget, retirement, and how to do your taxes. I had students who were about to graduate that had no idea everybody didn’t get food stamps or government assistance. With his help we came up with a plan and project that covered how to buy a car, credit score, bank information etc. We covered all the standards but because our mission was ensuring every student has an opportunity for success, we changed what was emphasized to fit our school and our students. That project is now used by all civics and economics teachers in the school. If I was in charge of curriculum, I would try to design as many assessments as possible I can around what we created for economics. I would like to see students use the information they learned in tangible, real world projects and activities. I am motivated when I see how information is beneficial to me and I believe others tend to be motivated by that as well.

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