How to Switch Curriculum Like a Pro—Even for Just 1 Subject in 1 Grade

Teacher and Student

It’s rare (but wonderful) for a school to find the perfect curriculum and stick with it forever in every subject.

How’s your school doing with curriculum?

Even if you’re just thinking of switching one subject in one grade, change is still change.

Here’s a quick mini-guide to make the transition less scary and more exciting—as it should be!

  1. Ask a lot of questions.

Don’t stop until you feel confident. It’s true for your students, and it’s true for you: “There are no stupid questions.” Ask one, ask all, until you don’t have queries cobwebbing the back of your brain.

  1. Give yourself time, if you can.

Order as far in advance as possible. You can have the best curriculum, but it won’t feel like it if you haven’t had time to get comfortable before you start teaching.

  1. Buy the support materials.

Not having support materials is like buying ingredients for a recipe. . . but having to invent the recipe. You can create the appetizing result you want, but it takes precious time and effort (and often trial and error) to get it right.

Even though curriculum change is often crucial, it’s not easy. Not having lesson plans, answer keys, etc., only makes the transition harder, leads to teachers feeling overworked, and leaves them with less time and energy to devote to being amazing teachers.

  1. Don’t skip ahead.

Do read through the textbook/teacher edition/lesson plan introductory pages.

It’s tempting to flip past it—like putting something together without reading the instructions first—but often the front matter will explain the why and big-picture elements that help everything else make sense and really “stick.”

  1. Embrace the learning curve.

Find out what curriculum training is available and schedule time in the calendar for it. As we all know, training videos, etc., don’t do any good if they’re left sitting on to-do lists.

  1. Write down your goals for the new curriculum.

This step will make you define exactly what you want to see, then start thinking about steps to follow, possible milestones, etc. Be sure to share your goals with your teachers, and encourage them to always start with the why before moving on to the how.

  1. Note progress.

Write down the great, middle-of-the-road, and challenging elements of your curriculum right now (quantitative and qualitative). Do the same thing in the middle of the semester and at the end of the semester for your new curriculum.

Of course you can do it more often, but the point is to get a picture, not to get overloaded. Even if all you have time for is brief observations occasionally, make them! When you look back over time, you’ll be able to see the big changes your efforts have created.

With a little bit of work in the beginning, switching to a more effective curriculum pays off in the end. The results you’ll see and the goals you’ve reached will be worth it.

We’re here if you need help!

Have curriculum questions? Find your rep for a listening ear & thoughtful advice.

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