Instructional design – group project: Koan School curriculum

Our group members – Beth, Heather B and James chose to work together to create K-2 curriculum for the Koan School.  This school really intrigues me as I love the overall concept, goals/objectives and most importantly the backbone of project/problem based learning.  Our group chose this ID due to the goals and objectives of the school.

When thinking about project based learning I think that although many teachers can understand the idea behind this type of instructional design, the end result isn’t really what was intended.  Thinking about public school – ultimately, teachers are getting students prepared for a test. Why can’t a teacher employ the basic tenants of PBL?  Student backgrounds? Class-size? Benchmarks? A good teacher should be able to allow students to think deeper, drive their own learning and still master the objectives.  I really think that what causes the most level of disconnect is that this is not an accepted practice.  How do you really measure what a student thinks or more importantly can you measure this in a fast paced, driven classroom that is working towards that magic date of a summative assessment?

Well, I think you can, but it takes creativity, flexibility, more than the surface level objectives.  This is why I am very intrigued by the Koan school.  This is the way I was as an educator.  Although I was not the norm and did have those teachers question my practices, I had “those” students, but I provided opportunity, we dug deeper for more understanding, asked more questions, students learned concepts that they wanted to and had the vested interest in… even when staying with the objectives.

Our curriculum is going to focus on the first 6 weeks or first session beginning with “me” – at this level (K-2) we really need to think about me and how “me” relates to the rest of “we”.  In our group, Beth and Heather will act as SMEs since we both have experience in the classroom and have written curriculum for this level.  James will add value with his ID experiences as a SME in this area.  Heather B is our advisor since she is associated with the school, but is also supporting our efforts with the group paper on PBL.

In looking for resources for our curriculum, I like the Buck Institute’s information and found this rubric to include many of the key compenents of our project and will probably incorporate/reference this information.

I really wanted to visit the school and had some travel woes with my GPS — maybe this week!




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