Curriculum Map Fun 2

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



12 thoughts on “Curriculum Map Fun 2”

  1. It would be easy enough to come up with a list of some “year 1, semester 1” structures and some “year 1, semester 2” structures and so on. Of course it could be all fabricated and not line up with what we actually do, but if pressed we could say “we differentiated based on this classes’ needs and so here is an updated list.”

    Why can’t we just write down the Matava structures for year 1 and use the Tripp structures for year 2? It would take probably an hour to lay them over a calendar and then we’ve got our “map” for the first two years. A map none of us would actually follow 100% of the time, but still…

    1. There are two reasons to support this. I know James is just tossing it into the curriculum mapping ring, but it has two advantages I can think of right away:

      1. It’s what many of us do. We work from structures. We expand our language instruction from the three structures to real comprehensible input, all sorts of options available to us like Textivate, readings, assessment, the communicative piece, dictee, etc. (click on the Weekly Schedules – New Bi-Weekly Schedule (2013) for a run down of just some of the things we can do with three structures).

      So, for starters, connecting a map to the structures is not a lie. The teachers who copy down the table of contents of their textbooks and call it a pacing guide are following their own (severely limited) ideas of what language instruction entails. We should say our curricular truths as well. We should just be honest about how it is that, at least in my case, my mapping is best described as the expansion into lots of repeated CI over two weeks of three structures. I mean, that’s what I do. It’s geared to exposing my kids to the ocean that is language and not a cup of piss*.

      2. This one is more important bc it reflects Michael Fullan’s crucial work that nobody ever actually follows or even talks about**. That is, calling for fair and open confrontation in a spirit of what is best for the kids. Fullan wants us to take the venom out of change. He wants us, yes, the whacko CI people, to confront, on behalf of children, what we in our honest and candid professional opinions think is horsehit. So what better way than a little bait and switch where instead of lying Carol just hands in something that reflects what she really does and, as she described with those two teachers who said, “Oh, we do that!” (CI) then welcome open dialogue about best practices.

      Let the badges quibble with us about the difference between goals and curricular objectives. Their rhetoric is easily thrown back in their faces and most admins need a facial right about now, as they are looking uglier and uglier in their confrontive jabtalk in these hard months and some of us think, meditate and anguish over our job security or if we even fricking want to return to the buildings we are in right now.

      I got this idea from something Jeff said, bc, among all of us, Jeff tells it like it is without any sugar coating to his bosses, like our two Chrisses do as well, (Canada and Ohio). In other words, based on what you said, we could come up with an honest representation of what we do and let them confront us, then lay out the research, and thereby educate them.


      1. Jennifer in NJ


        I agree that Carol should not just hand in what she believes everyone wants to see. Otherwise, what’s the point of trying to make a change? Some of us have to gather the cajones to tell it like it is. Also, I would love to collaborate with everyone on the PLC to come up with the basic idea of how our academic year works. It would be helpful for a newer teacher to CI as I am.

        P.S. I would love to take credit for the awesome statement above but alas, it was not mine.

      2. Somehow, I knew that a brief statement in trusting the net hypothesis was not going to get ‘er done! If anyone has a copy of Carol Gaab’s materials, the French 1 textbook lays out grammatically everything in her chapter 1 – if that’s what they want for skills, no problem. It lists stuff like definite, indefinite articles, direct and indirect and it’s true, it’s all in there. The problem for the suits is, they see instruction as the table of contents – like September is numbers and it’s done and the teacher move on to possessive adjectives and so it goes. That’s why I love the DPS course outline – it’s about me and the world beyond me and clearly states that the contents of both semesters is fluid and is constantly re-introduced. Makes sense to me. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond. I think level 1 will be okay, now I have to go on with level 2, etc.

      3. I agree wholeheartedly but then someone throws out the “whole language” canard which has been so divisive among English teachers. I have been told that what I do is whole language and I always correct and say comprehensible input but it is language that is highly contextualized. I am in the process of memorizing Krashen’s statement on language acquisition.

        1. As far as I understand it, “whole language” refers to a method of teaching L1 reading which relies on context instead of phonics.

          I don’t think you can compare a lack of focus on explicit phonics instruction (whole language) with a lack of focus on explicit grammar instruction (TCI). It’s apples to oranges.

  2. We were asked, as elementary teachers to do this “curriculum map thing” three years ago. (My name is Liz Hughes and I currently read the PLC at least three times a week. Sorry for not adding much. I am the Spanish teacher at Breckenridge Elementary and Upper Blue Elementary in Breckenridge, CO)

    Anyway, I think you are right, James…about using the scripts in order to appease this perceived need. We were asked to do this when our “department” was working like a well-oiled machine. We had a four-teacher department, all being experienced CI teachers. We had a great relationship and trust among our group, a strong belief in the power of CI, and we saw no real reason to do something like this. Pushed by administration, we did precisely what you are suggesting, James. We came up with our favorite story scripts (which were created in our classrooms and shared among the group), put them in some sort of chronological order ?is that what you’d call it? chronological?, cited the standards to which they applied, and called those stories the common assessments (we were also asked to create common assessments) and the curriculum map.
    This was all quite silly, but our admins were happy it was “done”.

    I have been thinking about this though…and have found that this curriculum map and common assessment thing has come in handy these days. We have since lost two of those fabulous, CI-experienced, pros. We have gained two new and (thank goodness) willing, but untrained members. Because of this curriculum map, we have been able to give the newbies a leg to stand-on…or at least a place to start.

    Coming from a place where we do not have a Diana Noonan to lead the way for us, or a coordinator at all, this might be a way to begin to communicate, what we do (and why we do it) with new teachers who begin the year without any training.

    I looked-up the definition of “curriculum mapping” and found an explanation on Wikipedia. At the end of the Wikipedia definition, reads this statement:
    “Curriculum mapping requires a cultural shift in certain schools. The curriculum needs to be perceived as a ‘work-in-progress’, a ‘living and breathing’ document, whose ultimate owners are students. Curriculum mapping is a ‘process’, not a one-time initiative.[5] Traditional curriculum mapping software are just tools available to make the review process easier. Modern software allow educators to impute lessons and extract maps. This makes for a more natural process and more frequent updates[14]”
    5. a b Jacobs, Heidi Hayes. Mapping the Big Picture: Integrating Curriculum and Assessment K-12 (ASCD,1997).

    What do you all think about that definition? Would this make sense for us all? Could we use this definition in order to make it make sense for us?

    1. Ha, that’s funny, Liz. The last time I typed up a document for curricular purposes, I entitled it “French 1, the Big Picture”. The problem is not so much writing what I do, but getting them to see the wisdom. My document looks radically different from the others!

  3. you know, Liz, you are right. we do need SOME sort of a map that is the “guide” in a department. I have been researching the Common Core (ad nauseum) lately for a course I am taking, and frankly, it makes sense — to KNOW what someone is taught in say Grade 1, makes life easier for the Grade 2 teacher to build upon. Just like in L2, if we have a curriculum map, stating what they SHOULD be learning in Level 1, then when they get to Level 2 and tell Teacher #2 that Teacher #1 “never taught us that”, Teacher #2 will know that they WERE taught that, they were just asleep that day, week, month.
    I have been having issues with my colleagues and the grammar-driven curriculum map, since it goes against the Natural Order, and therefore scares me to think that if a kid does not “get” a grammar concept in Level 1, that my colleagues who are grammar driven will find fault with my use of TPRS. But, on the other hand, it has liberated me to now know about the research — that it’s not ME not teaching a concept, but rather, is the kiddo’s brain ready to take it in and process it at this point in time? I think it just helps when the whole department understands how language is acquired.
    I no longer think of kids as being “lazy” when they don’t understand something. I think that I haven’t recycled that structure enough. BUT….that is what is killing me right now- I have ONE student who just is NOT getting it. He is failing my comp. check quizzes at the end of class. I have spent an inordinate amount of time on Greetings and Leave-Takings (in our Curriculum map for Level 1A) and he is still failing. Grades close this Friday and I don’t want to give him a failing grade! This is why I am so torn — the ‘map’ that I am following is not working for this kid!!! (everyone else is getting it and wants to move on.) I have asked him to be my note-taker of structures I write on the board — after the day’s PQA/stories, but he’s not getting it.
    He seems to love to fill in worksheets and to write things down. I am now thinking that I will give him worksheets to fill in and exercises to do and verbs to conjugate and grade him on that. He is so not focused during PQA and stories. He doesn’t talk to a neighbor, he is very quiet – I can see his mind wandering and looking off into space. I have made him an actor, I have made him the center of PQA, but to no avail.
    For him, this grammar-driven curriculum map will work (I think)! Monday he will conjugate the present tense verbs for me and he will fill in a worksheet on time, and do some math problems in Spanish to practice his numbers, and I will grade those. Because after several days of “What is your name/What is his name? His name is/Her name is/Your name is” he does not know what it means or how to answer.
    Any ideas? (sorry if this went off on a tangent is now in a wrong topic)

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben