The ongoing reflective home of the New York City Social Studies CFG.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Change In My Practice: Thematic Curriculum

This change is at the front of my mind because ever since I have decided to make it, I have been constantly questioning if it is the right decision.

I am transitioning from teaching history chronologically to teaching history thematically.

I have taught 10th grade Global History for four years now (teaching for five).  I have worked diligently to develop engaging and insightful units, based them on the Global History Regents.  I have sacrificed skills for content and have felt that I have come up short in my actual purpose for teaching history.  This last year, my Regents results took a dip, and I realized that I was no longer engaging with the content and no longer forcing my students to develop critical thinking and writing skills.  Instead, I was teaching to a test that doesn't ask them to do either.

I believed that the solution to this problem was to attempt to embed skills more overtly into my units and develop curriculum around themes that would most resonate with my students (and with myself).

With the implementation of the Common Core and the coming changes to assessments, I believe that future Regents exams will need to ask students to do MORE and be MORE rather than less.  I feel like structuring a class around these Common Core skills will serve to make my students more successful beyond the Regents.

But that is IF I want the Regents in Global History to continue to be my personal benchmark of success.  I have many concerns about this new approach and am hoping that this Critical Friends Group will help to clarify and solidify this change in practice.

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