It’s a busy season for Musicuentos, can you tell?
I feel like I just said that.
I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief as an excellent cohort of teachers and I wrapped up a year-long project to lay the groundwork for something that has not existed in entirety before: an elementary curriculum map for the Jefferson County (KY) Public Schools.
If you’ve been looking at resources online for any length of time you know that JCPS has developed and is developing one of the most proficiency-focused, communicative, research-based curricula out there. But the elementary program has been a different story. The project to develop a district-wide map has started and stopped and fizzled several times over the years, but it’s finally happened and will continue happening.
If you’ve been interested in JCPS’s projects for any length of time you know it’s been a bear to get access to them. Password protected. Blocked. Unblocked – for a matter of hours. Someone in some workshop has them on a USB drive. The district was protective even as the district specialist wanted them public. You may find all the new documents online here. If you can’t – best news ever for you – they have moved to a public Google Drive folder here.
Let me say that again.
Watch for updates as the great teachers at JCPS continue working on powerful assessments, resources, and lesson plans.
A few notes about the elementary curriculum:
- JCPS categorizes elementary grades beginning with P1 as kindergarten, P2 as 1st grade, and so on. At 4th grade the teachers stop using the P# reference.
- We tried to address the problems that plague elementary programs – kids transferring in and out, the program getting hijacked by pull-outs and testing prep, too many students per teacher, not enough time per week. So we divided the program into two levels, with the levels layered. Then we developed five six-week units for the last six-week period to be used as review and assessment as the state testing schedule allows. So the first level has the same five units every year for kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, but every year the vocabulary and functions in that theme get deeper. There’s a lot of recycling and then moving deeper. Same with third, fourth, and fifth grades- the same theme for the unit every year with a lot of recycling and moving deeper.
- We developed the program as if every teacher had the recommended minimum 90 minutes per week with students, which no one in the JCPS system does yet, so we actually recommend that teachers with less time throw out an entire unit instead of doing less per unit. If it were me I would skip unit 1 in Level 1 on the assumption that kids will develop the school vocabulary as the year goes on, and in Level 2 I would combine the All About Us and Hanging Out with my Friends units.
- There are also many core content and connections built in.
- As teachers develop units and find resources those will be updated too, with a goal to have a really good IPA for at least each semester of 3rd-5th soon.
- The intercultural goals are something cool and innovative but will need some improvement so you can watch for that as well.
We hope you find it useful.
I’m going to take a nap now.