The Search for High-Quality Curriculum and Instructional Materials
Did you know there is a difference in standards and curriculum? Often, they are used topically in the same manner, but they are actually very different. Educational standards are the learning goals for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. Curriculum is materials and educational resources that provide instructional experiences for students to help them learn the standards, while also providing adequate pacing for teachers to cover all of the standards required. The State of Tennessee determines the educational standards students are expected to perform at each grade level. School districts are then charged with selecting the curriculum materials they will use in order to teach those state standards.
Lauderdale County strives to provide high-quality, rigorous curriculum that is aligned to our state standards. 7th grade teachers at Ripley Middle School asked to pilot the Wit and Wisdom curriculum in their English Language Arts classrooms this year. Wit & Wisdom is a curriculum that drives student understanding through engaging texts, interdisciplinary content, and opportunities for oral and written expression. 7th grade teacher, Mr. Samuel Wiggin, states:
“Students are completing rigorous assignments with outstanding work samples as we complete themed units on Identity in the Middle Ages and Americans during World War II by reading novels and non-fiction books. Students are actively using researched-based literacy activities to address all of the literacy strands in depth while interacting with texts and others to build a deep, critical understanding of multiple texts. Common Assessments and Writing scores are significantly up from last year.”
While Tennessee has increased the level and rigor of the standards, we must do the same with our expectations in the classroom. Is this work hard for students and teachers? Yes. Anything new is often difficult. Are our students worth it? Absolutely!
Link to Tennessee State Standards: https://www.tn.gov/education/i...