Assignments Fall 2014

Please note: You do NOT have to request to join the wiki as it is PUBLIC access.

Due Date
Curriculum as Being: Professionalism, Attendance, Engagement, Participation,
Writing Responses
1. Curriculum Self-reflection: "On Becoming a Curriculum Developer"
Autobiographical work (5)
Community of learning (10)
Final Reflection (30)
September 23, 2014
October 28th , 2014
December 9th , 2014
2. Curriculum Critique:
September 30th, 2014,
3. Curriculum as Written, Planned, and Taught: Curriculum Project (in groups)
Nov 4th, 11th, 19th, 2014

Grading guidelines:

Curriculum as Being: P/F

Attendance, engagement, and participation are crucial in this course. There will be opportunity for interaction during the large group lectures (Tuesdays) and more opportunity during the small group seminars (Mondays or Wednesdays). Thoughtful, thought-provoking and respectful contributions to the class discussions are expected and will assist you in becoming intellectually and personally involved in the material covered in the course.

This class is intended to examine and develop contrasting opinions, stimulate debate and challenge commonly held beliefs. The ideas of everyone in the class are important to our discussion. To achieve these ends students must: critically read assigned readings prior to the appropriate lecture and seminar; respond in writing to whatever prompts have been provided and bring these responses to class; and be prepared to engage with issues relating to the readings and enter class with an open mind.


1. Curriculum Self-reflection: “On becoming a curriculum developer”

Often we think on curriculum as the “prescribed” documents written by officials in ministries of education. While these and other documents provide guidance, it is teachers who are charged with the responsibility of creating meaningful learning experiences for their students, and there inspiration for this assignment. We want to help you think of yourself as becoming a curriculum developer in your own classroom. To facilitate this process, in each lecture you will be asked a few questions that aim to help you see and begin to articulate your own values and beliefs, the type of instruction and assessment you would like to carry out, the roles you see yourself taking in your classroom, and so on. In addition, it is important that you also anticipate difficulties and/or fears that may hold you back.

This assignment has three parts.
Part 1 - September 23rd
This brief narrative assignment asks you to consider the events that have shaped your understanding of yourself as a teacher. In not more than 3 pages (single spaced is fine), respond to the following prompt:

What events or people or experiences can you think of that influenced your understanding of teaching and or your desire to be a teacher. Record four or five (brief) instances. (1 page). Take one of those events/people/experiences and expand or explore both the details of the event and its implications for your understanding. (2 pages)

Part 2 - October 28th
Knowledge in classrooms is not simply passed down from teacher to students; instead some of the most meaningful knowledge is co-constructed through discussions and interactions between learners (and instructors). Moreover, in our increasingly networked and digital world, it is important that we as teachers develop the skills needed to be able to model 21st century learning to our students, including being self-directed, independent, and lifelong learners. Increasingly, such learners need to be able to contribute to and learn from those outside on their immediate school and local communities in order to tap into a broader knowledge base. As such, in this course, you will begin to build a personal learning network (PLN) to aid in your professional development as a teacher. The growth of your PLN will be supported in two major ways through course activities. First, you will create a blog to document your learning and reflections. This blog will be aggregated to a central site with the other blogs from your section and shared with the world. Second, you will be asked to join Twitter in order to contribute both in the lecture space and to the world at large. Throughout the course, we will also encourage you to read and comment on the blog posts of others, both in the class and outside of it.

In this section of the assignment, you will be responsible for reflecting on your growth as a professional as a member of your PLN, the growth of your PLN, and the ways in which you’ve contributed to the learning community. This should include specific details, such as links to responses to others’ blog posts, feedback to presenters/students/instructors on Twitter or other online spaces, or meaningful face to face discussions of student writing in staff groups. It should also include a reflection (6-8 paragraphs) on how your contributions have enabled the collective construction of knowledge in this class and outside of it in the broader learning community.

This assignment will be completed as a blog post and should take advantage of the affordances of blogging, in particular the inclusion of links to outside content, blog posts/comments, Twitter conversations, etc.

Part 3 - December 9th
This process of self-reflection ends with you telling your curriculum journey story. The final product, therefore, is your digital storytelling (audio recording), voice with pictures and/or text (narrated slideshow or Prezi), voice & video (movie), or other form of digital storytelling (video, inspiration mindmap, Haikudeck, voicethread, etc.). You may choose to work individually OR with a partner.

More details to follow

2. Curriculum Critique - September 30th

“There is no neutral text. All texts represent a particular perspective”

The main goal of this activity is to evaluate an actual curriculum that is being implemented in the province of Saskatchewan. Students can choose to evaluate an alternative school (choices will be provided) or a newly introduced curriculum, program, or initiative in a subject or area of your choice (e.g., the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP)). You are asked to write a three-page critique that discusses the underlying principles, beliefs, values that in your view inform/sustain the alternative school/newly implemented curriculum.

Through this activity not only will you will become familiar with alternative models of education or with newly introduced educational initiatives in the province. But, perhaps more importantly, you will begin to think critically about the perspectives that inform school curricula. In other words, this learning activity will help you strengthen your analytical practice to make visible what is often implied, but not stated.

A critique is more than simply saying what you liked or did not like about the curricula you are reviewing. A critique is an informed evaluation. Therefore, your judgments in the final report must be well-supported. To do this, you can use excerpts from official documents as well as class readings and/or lectures. As a learning experience, it is important that you show that you can apply key concepts and issues learned in class. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their choice of project with their seminar leader.

To begin writing your critique, inform yourself about the alternative school/educational curriculum. As you read, pay close attention to stated vision and mission, values and principles, goals, teaching methods, learning outcomes, attention to diversity, student assessment, etc. In this initial stage, you can do a MINDMAP of words, phrases, drawings or create a metaphor that is representative of what you see, hear and feel in that alternative space/curricular program. Share your MINDMAP with your seminar facilitator and other students (feel free to take a picture and post on your blog). In addition, the following questions can be helpful. THINK about:
* What is ‘alternative’ about the space/school being described?
* What are some of the ways that students experience school/learning in this space?
* How does the philosophy of this school/program is similar/different from your own schooling?
* What values and beliefs (i.e., ideologies) may guide the alternative school/newly introduced school curriculum?
* What conceptions of knowledge and learning seem to be supported?
* How responsive is the alternative school/school curriculum to various forms of diversity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background and sexual orientation, ability level)? Is diversity a priority?
* How responsive is the alternative school/school curriculum to the values of equity and justice?

Choice A: Prairie Sky School
Prairie Sky School (YouTube) 8:15 minSchool WebsiteOur K-8 program provides students
with a unique, active, and creative
environment that encourages a love of
learning. Our approach fosters a strong sense of empathy, interconnection, and
environmental conscientiousness, while offering engaging academics, artistic expression, and encouraging critical thinking.

Current List of Saskatchewan Independent Schools
Choice B:
Cornwall Alternative School
Cornwall Alternative School (YouTube) 9:47 minutes
School Website
Cornwall is an alternative school for
young people between the ages of
12 and 18 who are experiencing difficulty
(behavior, unstable home environment; involvement in youth court; drug/alcohol related problems; recent institutional release; presently in open custody.
Mandate: "Never giving up on the minds
of tomorrow."
Choice C:
Montessori School of Regina
Montesorri School of Regina
Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and strength, use it to create.
Montessori Facebook Page

"Help me learn to do it for myself!"
Choice D:
Mother Teresa Middle School
The Mother Teresa Middle School of Regina provides an enhanced, holistic SK Education approved, faith-based middle school
education to the vulnerable in inner city Regina and incorporates the Nativity Miguel Effectiveness Standards.
Principal's Message (YouTube) 1:11 minutes
School Website
Celebrations & Successes (photos & stories)
Principal's Message (YouTube) 1:11 minutes

3. Curriculum as Written, Planned, and Taught - November 4th, 11th, and 19th

Project Objectives:
  • To explore the implications for an anti-oppressive orientation to curriculum design;
  • To understand that teachers can exercise a high degree of agency in various ways in relation to curriculum;
  • To explore the implications of curriculum design for teachers and learners, especially around issues of equity.
  • To explore the possibilities and tensions around teaching about gendered violence and various related topics (heterosexism, MMIW, sexism, domestic violence, violent masculinities, rape culture, etc…).
Project Description:
In your subject area groups (or inter-disciplinary groups), you will consider the possibilities for engaging gendered violence through a student experience of the Man Up Against Violence event. Subject areas and curricula bring unique insights and open spaces for teaching and learning about this content. You will work in small groups to:
  1. Consider the learning/experience of the event as a space for learning. Be creative, and try and imagine how or why you might, from within your subject areas, bring students into this space. Make sure to assess what students might need to know/understand in order to make the event most worthwhile. Consider what you might ask your students to do while participating in the event. You might need to be creative to make meaningful connections with your students.
  2. Connect with the official curriculum by selecting appropriate outcomes and indicators to engage with your students around. Your group will plan for student experience as if you were taking a group of students to participate in the exhibit. You will be responsible to plan 5 moments for your students:
◦ Pre-learning – plan a lesson that will prepare your students for the experience of ‘Man Up Against Violence’.
◦ Describe the instructions/experiences that will structure your students’ experiences at the exhibit. This is not a formal lesson plan.
◦ Post-experience – plan 3 lessons that will extend and deepen student understanding after their experience.
  1. Teaching – Your group will take one of the lessons/activities that you planned and teach during a seminar (week of Nov. 4th, 11th, 19th). This will be an opportunity to try teaching some of this content in a supportive context. Place emphasis on engagement and student experience.