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Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

This is why I love backwards

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This is why I love backwards design- iif you start with a goal or an endpoint for the learning- thinking more in milestones and guardrails (so to speak) than hard and fast lesson plans, you can still meet the needs of kids, but also have room to deviate, improvise and explore a bit more- and everyone needs a bit more of this freedom- kids and teachers alike.

Community Manager at Edutopia

@Gina, point taken. :-)

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@Gina, point taken. :-)

I love the association you've

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I love the association you've made. I would take it one step further and say that we're all in this together, but a company of educators, not soldiers.

Community Manager at Edutopia

There's an old military adage

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There's an old military adage that goes: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” And while I don't encourage anyone to think of their students as the enemy, I do think the point is still relevant.

There should always be room for adaption and evolution in response to what you find each day in the classroom. Too much rigidity makes for a fragile and inauthentic learning experience.

Beyond here there be monsters....

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Dear Mr. Heick, I very much enjoyed your blog entry on curriculum maps. Under the flag of full disclosure, I want to say upfront that I have been asked to choose a blog entry on assessment to respond to for an education class I am taking. Thus, you have introduced me to the idea of curriculum maps and in particular the work of HJHayes which I will have to learn more about.

Your blog caught my eye for its willingness to present a truth that I don’t often seen owned up to in teaching. That students’ learning interests are a profound part of the learning they will do in any setting, and especially in a classroom. I am struck the more I contemplate teaching in a classroom that teachers are asked to work within the tension of a paradox defined by students’ interests and the idea that a teacher teaches communally agreed upon standards. Grant Wiggins (whose Educative Assessment we are reading) likes to use the image of teachers as architects having to comply with building codes. I am drawn to and also frustrated by his image. What if, as you write, your students want to create their own building codes? How do you wrestle the liveliness of that intent into the expectations of the standards (or maps) we have created for them? I like your image of going beyond the edge of the map as an allusion to the old Western maps where written on areas not yet know to voyagers appeared words to the effect that —‘beyond here there be monsters…’ I fear that teachers look at the interests that energize students as ‘monsters’, an unknown to be approached with trepidation. And yet, these map makers, by being map makers, were implying that they would one day map these unknown areas.

Like you, I would like to see more teachers take on the influence of the living beings standing before them to be as profound as the standards we are asked to represent in mapping the time teachers spend with students. I read many educators who will point to the importance of adapting curriculum to students’ interests and do little more than that. Have you had any experience with practitioners who do include “something more and room to roam?” Have you found or heard of ways to make ‘maps’ “adaptive and circular” and “able to respond to the performance of the students?” Again, I appreciate your raising this very important shortcoming of so much thought about what an education is or does.

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