My Day as a Curriculum Mapping Explorer

  The week of August 4, 2008 was a fascinating one for me. Scott assigned the following task to our MED 631 class: read an article about the  Curriculum Mapping Model, visit three websites on curriculum mapping and then create a rubric for evaluating each curriculum mapping tool. Easy feat, yes? My answer is an emphatic, “No”!

  The idea or concept of Curriculum Mapping is not a difficult one in itself. Comparison shopping between three companies is in a completely different  ballpark. The article on curriculum mapping was informative and provided the necessary foundation or background for me. Having a basic understanding of curriculum mapping along with the original design of the concept made my approach to the  evaluation process not as complex.

   Upon surfing the three suggested sites, the winner to me was the Tech Paths website. Tech Path was the leader of the three sites based on the following: Tech Paths was built on the Jacob’s model, listed educational pedagogies, professional development was provided for the client, targeted remediation was a bonus feature, its educational teachers are former teachers, used throughout 700 districts and 47 states, provides essential questions, content, skills, assessments, lessons, aligns data with state standards, lesson plans, connections among the disciplines, roll over units from the previous year, and analyzes how many times a standard is visited.

   My second choice was Curriculum Mapper. Curriculum Mapper was clearly the established company of the three. It boasts of being the first web based mapping system. Something must be said of a “originator” of a web concept. Curriculum Mapper’s  major selling point to me was that “former teachers designed their product”.  Costs is assessed based on the amou t of teachers who actually use the product.

   Rubicon Atlas had one  selling point that shone brightly in its favor and that was its PODCAST feature. Rubiconwas my least favorite company based on the fact, its website was not user friendly and its incessent manner of stating “we” and “our” in regards to their product and never focusing in its potential client/customer. A potential supplier would need to “cater” to their future clients.

   In closing, my “Curriculum Mapping Explorer Experience” was a beneficial one for me. As a formet Title I Teacher who was responsible for evaluating products from competitive companies, my “eagle-eye” skills were sharpened. Our class evaluation/summation led to the following ranking: First Place (Rubicon), Second Place (Curriculum Mapper), and Third Place (Tech Paths).

Add a comment August 8, 2008

Simpson’s Educational Philosophy

July 2008

Subject: Mrs. Carricia Simpson, M.Ed.

RE: Educational Philosophy

 

Reflecting upon the historical content of educational philosophies, I thought of a profound statement made by Marcus Garvey”People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” While Garvey may have made this statement operating upon the premise of cultural awareness, I liken his quote to the paradigm of education. Educators must have knowledge of past and present educational philosophies to ascertain the validity of our instructional practices. Conducting a brief research of educational philosophies lead me to discover that my instructional practices and foundation of education were based upon the tenets of three educational philosophies. The three educational philosophies are essentialism, existentialism, and unitarianism.  

My educational background consists of the following idyllic tale of an impressionable young student haling from southern schools, specifically, Richmond County schools located in the state of North Carolina. I knew in Mrs. Hannah’s third grade class that I was destined to become an educator. Anyone who could do what Mrs. Hannah did all day long would have to be a neat person. Mrs. Hannah is memorable to me because she made learning fun. She made the students in her classroom feel important and smart.

 Beyond the third grade, those beginning teaching years and advancing to graduate school, my views about teaching and education have matured and transformed into my current educational philosophy. Mrs. Hannah was the catalyst for my initial interest in the field of Education, but I attribute my dominant drive in becoming an educator to my life experiences. 1986 was the pivotal year in my journey of education that marked my purpose in life. 1986 was the year that I graduated from Richmond Senior High School as a North Carolina Scholar. 1986 was the year that I discovered many of my classmates were struggling readers, deemed incapable of passing the State Mandated End of Grade Tests and were permitted to graduate from high school.

Over twenty years later, realizing the gravity of seventeen and eighteen year old students being released upon a society whose roots were planted in every person being a responsible citizen, the tenets of essentialism began to flow through my veins. Essentialists believe in the teaching of traditional basic subjects. I am a staunch supporter of students receiving a firm foundation of fundamental facts. Upon learning fundamental facts, a student can advance to skills of a more complex nature.   

The beginning phases of my journey in education brought about the development of the utilitarian ideals in my educational belief system. 1986 was the pivotal year that I decided a change had to be made in the Education System and I was one of many to help make that change. The impressions on my life by my mother and father raising seven children with firm morals and values and establishing the expectation that all of their children would be the recipients of a quality education and pursue a higher education after graduating from high school has also molded me into the child advocate and change agent that I am today. Making a change, being a part of a change for the good is what I desire to do on a daily basis, within and outside the confines of the internal classroom.

 

The utilitarian theory is evident in manner that I subscribe to consequences in education. If I may refer back to several of my classmates graduating in the eighties without being fluent, phrased and comprehensive readers, the burden of their inabilities inevitably has been placed upon the responsible faction of society. The consequence of any school system with flaws, specifically, school districts that permeate “promote a student to the next grade at any cost” will yield severe consequences upon the consciousness of the public.   

I have taught primarily in Title I public schools in North Carolina, Oklahoma and presently Washington State. Title I schools are compromised of diverse populations with a high percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Title I schools are typically high transient schools. I have discovered by teaching in Title I public schools that our students are unique students who possesses diverse gifts, talents and abilities. I liken my passion for Title I public schools to Larry Bell’s mantra… Even on your worst day, you may be a child’s only best hope. One of my many goals for the students with whom I have the honor and privilege to teach is to guide them from being dreamers and to instill in them a sense of hope along with the necessary skills to strategically convert their dreams into realities. The final educational philosophy that has been revealed in my educational foundation is existentialism.

Curriculum adoption, curriculum alignment, the implementation of curriculum within a school system is vital to the well-roundedness of students, but the existentialist portion of me wants to scream from the mountaintops…Can we just get back to the business of teaching? My instructional practices must adhere to the guidelines of my current school district, but who I am as a professional educator cannot be dictated by the institutional ideals of a school system. My point of view is exactly that…my point of view.  Assessing the learning situations that I have been privy to over the past twelve years has assisted in developing my philosophy of education. Educational foundations such as the Comer Principles have enhanced my views of education. My overall view of education is… All Children can Learn, but at different rates and with different abilities. As educators, it is our responsibility to ascertain which modalities of learning it requires for All of our Children to be successful in and outside of the classroom. My desire is to influence the lives of the students in my charge in such a profound way that they grasp a hold of the “key to success” called Education. Education coupled with a foundation of faith-based principles is the solution to the wonderful things that life has to offer.

Operating on the premise that All Children Can Learn…I would like to conclude my philosophy of education with a brief excerpt from It Can’t Be Done by poet

Edward R. Guest. The profound words of Mr. Guest were a source of inspiration for me throughout graduate school at Cameron University of Lawton, Oklahoma. Despite the insurmountable challenges that I encountered at the time, which included being the primary caregiver for our four children due to my husband being deployed, working fulltime as a Title I Reading Specialist and volunteering in my church and community; I conquered those challenges through faith and a strong support system. Given the new opportunities set before me, I willingly press towards the prize of the high calling of excellence in my home, career and community to obtain the goal of being a Saint Martin’s University Principal Leadership graduate.

                                       

 

 

 

It Can’t Be Done

Edward R. Guest

 

There are thousands to tell you

That it cannot be done

There are thousands to prophesy failure

There are thousands to point out to you

One by one, all of the dangers that wait to assail you

But, just buckle right in with a bit of a grin

Just take off your coats and go to it

Just start to sing as you tackle the thing

That cannot be done

And you will do it!

 

 

1 comment July 18, 2008

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