Saturday, March 29, 2008

Curriculum Design and Satisfaction

I don't know if any of you read Dan Meyer's blog dy/dan, but yesterday he posted an interesting graph concerning the difficulty in creating good curriculum and the satisfaction derived from it.

His post got me thinking about my own life. I have taught for 10 years and enjoy it (other than the grading of course!). This morning has started like most Saturday mornings, with me at my laptop and working on lesson plans for the upcoming week. As I look at last year's lessons, I typically find fault with them and tweak them to fit this year. An example:

Last year's Geometry notes on similar triangles

This year's Geometry notes on similar triangles

From year to year, my lessons change. Some years they change a lot, other's not so much. However, I am never pleased with the previous material and unless I'm really pressed for time, I almost always change them.

My issue with Dan's graph is that I don't find it true for me. Each year, my standard of quality seems to increase, so I find it increasingly difficult to create good curriculum. Because it is more difficult for me to be pleased with my output, I find that the satisfaction in reaching that standard does increase.

I suppose there is no "right" answer - however, in year #1, I would have laughed if someone told me that year #10 would be just as difficult (or more so) and that I would still spend 80 hours a week on school.... Will I be able to sustain this for 20 more years? No idea, but I certainly hope so :)


Jackie said...

I like the prompt for the summary at the end of the lesson. Great idea - thank you!

Mrs. Temple said...

No problem :) The format is "Cornell notes" which is a grass-roots campaign at my school. Overall, I really like the format and my kids get on to me if I forget to say at the end of the lesson "Pretend I'm mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/brother/sister and I asked you *what* did you learn in Geometry today" to prompt them to do their summary LOL.