If there was one session from ASCD that I’d like to take back to my own school it was probably Heidi Hayes Jacob’s Curriculum 21, another new book in the ASCD store.
The first part of the presentation was too similar to the previous one on mapping but then it branched out into the need for re-creating school curriculum. Her main them: ‘no excuses’. This is happening now and teachers should get on board. She argued that joining a professional learning network like a Ning should be essential for every teacher. I liked her insistence around starting something new, and her metaphor around computer software which included 2 tiers of change:
Short term upgrades (deliberate replacement of at least one piece of content, assessment or skill with a contemporary one)
Long Term Versioning: new versions of the program structures in our schools. (versioning the four key school structures: scheduling, student grouping patterns, teacher configurations, space (virtual and physical-replace old ways of working)
I’ve had the book on my desk for a while and looked into it once or twice, but now I’m motivated to read it and act on it. Jacobs pointed out a site called Langwitches (added now to my Google Reader subscriptions) which visualises some key messages from the text. Two examples are below. I’ll be showing these to Heads of Department when I get back to school.