Last updated: June 01. 2013 9:24AM - 82 Views
Keith Strange
Staff Reporter

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DOBSON — While few details are available regarding specific changes to next year’s curriculum in Surry County Schools, much of the focus will be on more complex problem-solving strategies in the classroom.

Specific lesson plans based on the new curriculum will be developed over the coming months, and will be unveiled to every teacher in the system on May 25.

What is known so far is that tests are going to be based on promoting real-world applications and will involve critical thinking by the student.

Benchmarks for the English Language Arts curriculum are as follows:

  • Increase the complexity of texts used in the classroom to encourage students to think critically when reading.
  • Develop a balance between classic literature and informational texts used in class.
  • Make sure that lesson plans have a direct, real-world connection to preparing students for college and/or the workforce.
  • Develop higher standards for literacy in science and social studies.
  • Make sure that each lesson builds upon itself as the students transition to higher grade levels with a direct vertical progression of what is taught in the classroom.

Goals for the new Mathematics curriculum include:

  • Focusing the curriculum to include arithmetic and mathematical calculations at an earlier grade level.
  • Improving the pace of learning to make it more standardized across each grade level.
  • Focusing high-school level mathematics classes on using math to solve more complex problems with real-world application.
  • Placing an emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking while increasing the level of communication in the classroom.

In other subject areas administrators are tailoring the curriculum with the goal of making the students:

  • Able to solve complex problems and demonstrate the ability to think critically.
  • Globally aware.
  • Financially literate.
  • Environmentally literate.
  • Able to communicate clearly and precisely.
  • Engaged in the content they find relevant.
  • Able to solve real-world problems.
  • Able to demonstrate higher-level intellectual skills like synthesis and analysis of information.
  • Able to understand how different systems and content are connected.

Each teacher, when teaching their lesson plan, have a checklist put together by school administrators to ensure that each class will be taught with the new curricula in mind. This checklist includes:

  • Make sure the material is aligned with the Standard Course of Study.
  • Check for opportunities for students to inquire, question and investigate multiple solutions to a specific problem.
  • Check for flexibility in class scheduling, assessments and instructional delivery.
  • Check for effective use of technology, multimedia and other 21st Century skills.
  • Check for a connection to student interests with real-world applications.
  • Ensure that the material being taught is a progression from earlier grades and is being taught at an acceptable pace.
  • Check for differentiation of content, process and product.
  • Ensure that the proper taxonomies are being used to deliver quality questions to the student.
  • Ensure that each class is teaching literacy strategies including oral and written communications.
  • Check for well-written learning targets as evidence of success.
  • Ensure that students are turning in quality formative and summary assessments of a problem.
  • Check for the use of research-based strategies across disciplines.

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