New Curriculum or Old – Teaching Students or Curriculum

I teach students not curriculum.

That has been a cliché statement but it is so true. In my classroom of students in Grade 6, we have diverse needs from those reading above grade level to those reading below grade level. We have those struggling with understanding number sense to those that are not challenged enough with numeracy. We have those that can self-regulate and those that can’t.

I count both the Subject Area documents and the Core Competencies as the new curriculum. When we are teaching students, we need to consider the whole picture. One of my biggest challenges this year is to teach the students where they are at. I have great Inquiry Learning planned, group work, explorations, Genius Hour, jig sawing and so much more …. I have had to change my teaching practice to teach how they are ready to learn – both with background knowledge and skills.

I do use the new curriculum as my guidelines, but the reality is that I am not covering everything that is expected. I am however, striving to ensure that all understand the biggest ideas and that deficiencies in skills for learning are remediated. I have also identified students that are beyond my ability within the classroom setting to support and referred to School Based Team.

I do really enjoy the structure of the new curriculum. I have been able to see how it fits together. I was able to design 8 Inquiry units that I could support both students in Grade 6 and Grade 7 with the same Inquiry questions/ themes while differentiating to their expected learning intentions.

I have found it ironic that the new curriculum has a smaller scope in principle; however, it is actually far broader and more difficult to work towards ensuring understanding of the big ideas in content areas AND help students grow in the Core Competencies.

I find the best part of the new curriculum is the freeing from

I believe that a huge challenge is going to be that every teacher every year will need to start with expecting no prior knowledge, and no prior skills. They can then assess the students and restart their learning journey from where they are currently. Having taught secondary as well as elementary, I think this will be the hardest shift for secondary teachers. (because there is a hard break between schools and minimal articulation between teachers) It was always expected that students in Grade 8 had certain skills, abilities and knowledge. When they didn’t there was often complaints about the elementary not preparing them for high school. I can look back and see the irony now how every grade can blame the deficiencies on the previous year’s teachers.

It really goes back to teaching the students, not delivering a curriculum.
If students aren’t ready for what I have planned – I am the one that has to change first. The goal is for them to become ready through intentional teaching.
Ideally they will be able to accomplish what was planned and even better to go beyond my original intentions.

The new curriculum for me helps encourage the shift in mindset.

Aside/Clarification:
Many teachers were already teaching students and meeting their needs. Many great teachers are still teaching the old curriculum and doing amazing learning with their students. The power of the change is that we all restart our learning journeys, we all are forced to reflect, we are all challenged to reassess our beliefs about learning and students. Perhaps is it less about the curriculum than it is about having professional conversations with our colleagues and ourselves.

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