Top 5 Tips for Curriculum Implementation

Thanks to some quality feedback on a recent session of mine, I created a Top 5 Tips for Curriculum Implementation for Teachers and Administrators in hopes that this might ease the stress just a little.

Top 5 Tips

Tip One
Teachers are responsible for the HOW.

We get the WHY (Ministerial Order, The Guiding Framework) and the WHAT (subject area curriculum) from Alberta Education. The HOW remains the teacher’s responsibility, as outlined in the Teacher Quality Standard.

The Teaching Quality Standard

Quality teaching occurs when the teacher’s ongoing analysis of the context, and the teacher’s decisions about which pedagogical knowledge and abilities to apply, result in optimum learning for all students.

This is explained in greater detail as we examine the competencies and indicators that support the standard. Teachers are responsible for planning, instruction, and assessment so that we are meeting the learning needs of every student. Teachers create and sustain inclusive learning environments. And teachers develop and apply foundational knowledge about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit to benefit all students. In other words, it is up to teachers to interpret the WHY and the WHAT into meaningful learning opportunities for the students they serve.

Tip Two
Ground yourself in quality instruction.

Take a moment to reflect upon the lessons or units you have done with your students that created that delightful hum of learning in your classroom. Which activities naturally encourage engagement by all students? Which lessons started with strengths and built new ideas from there? 

These quality instructional practices will likely find a place within the new curriculum outcomes. While you are reading through each subject area, start thinking about where these quality teaching lessons or classroom structures (such as math warm-ups, morning messages, daily read-alouds, and/or teaching games for understanding in physical education – to name a few) might align and support the new outcomes.

Tip Three
KUSPs must be attached to the outcome. 

KUSPs move together

As you move into your planning, please remember that the Knowledge, Understanding, and Skills & Procedures must remain attached to the learning outcome. Teachers are obviously welcome to move around learning outcomes/KUSPs as they plan cross-curricular learning activities or iterative subject outcomes mapping; we just need to remember that they travel as a unit.

You may want to think of it this way: Any of the Skills & Procedures can be invited over to hang with a different group of KUSPs, but they must always be chaperoned by the learning outcome. This ensures that the context offered by the outcome is not lost when we are looking at one particular part of the KUSPs. 

Tip Four
Remember it is a YEAR LONG process 

There is ZERO need or expectation that teachers and administrators have this all figured out in the first month. While the space of uncertainty or the unknown is often uncomfortable for most of us to occupy, going slowly so we can fully understand the curriculum, engage in collaborative conversations with our colleagues to help align expectations, and maintain quality instruction at the forefront of our work is essential for successful implementation. Take your time. Exhale.

Tip Five
Don’t panic; you’ve got this. 

This tip is directly connected to the tip that started this list; teachers are responsible for the HOW. We have the collective professional efficacy to achieve successful curriculum implementation. Period. Trust in your abilities as a professional. Surround yourself with positive, supportive colleagues. And remember to reach out and ask for help when you need it. The educators that work at your local consortia office are ready to support you with whatever you need. 

BONUS Tip for Administrators (and teachers too).
The minutes of instruction HAVE NOT changed. 

time

Minimum hours of instruction and time allocations are outlined in the Guide to Education. Recommended time allocations for elementary students are offered in percentages. Daily physical activity (DPA) continues to be an expectation for 30 minutes each day. As such, your daily schedule may not look much different next year (depending primarily on how you have decided to schedule/assign Physical Education and Wellness). 

Percentage of Time

English Language Arts and LiteratureMathematicsPhysical Education and Wellness*
Grade 1 -2301510
Grade 3 – 6251510
*In the guide this is captured under Health and Life Skills in Physical Education

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ARPDC