When we start a new year or a new topic most teachers are lucky enough to be given a program from the year before to use. This can be fantastic as it saves time and also inspires ideas for the current year but there are many things we need to do before we use the program and it goes beyond just reading through and tweaking.
Pre test your students and consider if this program suits them at all. Does the topic need to be changed? Will they engage with the activities and are the activities differentiated to suit the needs of the current class?
Pre testing is vital for all KLA’s so that we are prepared to challenge every student in the different subject areas not just in their ability but also how they view the world through the different topic areas we are presenting to them.
How are they challenged?
How are the students being challenged in the program? Are they being challenged through the questions being asked or the skills they will develop?
Are you using Higher Order thinking stems for enrich their thinking and which model works best?
What level is the challenge?
If there is challenge and differentiation – great but at what level?
Again, you need to consider the students in your class and think if the level being presented to them in the current program is really for them
Will the main topic generate passion for learning?
The curriculum is much more flexible than we think and as the classroom teacher you need to consider which topic will really excite your learners.
Instead of just looking at ‘living things’ can your more able students look at ‘dangerous living things’?
Instead of just writing a book review – review a book review site instead and create your own.
How limited does the topic of space need to be? Can you go beyond just the planets in the solar system and discuss how people could live on these orbiting bodies.
It does take time to create new programs and also look through existing ones but when we do, our students enjoy learning and engage with us and this is worth the time spent!