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Instructional Requirements

According to the CLI process, once a new curriculum is written, the teachers of the target subject are trained to plan for implementation of that new curriculum.  Careful alignment of instruction is critical and as essential as the careful alignment of the K-12 curriculum itself.  The issue remains how to get it all done in the time available.  Here we offer suggestions for how to manage successful implementation of the new curriculum with a minimum of confusion and without causing undue stress.

Step 1. The CCC determines the requirements for the completion of the Instructional Planning Resource (IPR) for each outcome, including the timeline and rationale for completion. This timeline and rationale must be clearly communicated to teachers impacted by the new curriculum.

Step 2. All teachers of the target subject area receive implementation training.  This training includes planning for:

  • the pacing of instruction to complete the curriculum within the scope of the school year;

  • assessments of the components of the outcomes;

  • instructional methods, activities and resources;

  • corrective and enrichment instruction; and

  • the assessments of the outcomes.

Step 3. Administrators are charged by the CCC to monitor teachers as well as plan and allocate time during the implementation year for teachers to continue work on the Instructional Planning Resource in order to meet the requirements specified by the CCC.

Now, let’s talk about the rationale for completing pacing guides and the Instructional Planning Resource (IPR) and the possible responses of the CCC to the most common question we are asked by teachers in the implementation training — “Why are we doing this?”

Completing pacing guides accomplishes two very important objectives. First, teachers not involved in the writing phase have the opportunity to look closely at the entire curriculum, and to start thinking about what will be involved in teaching the outcomes. Second, they have the opportunity to schedule, on a pacing calendar, when each outcome or component will be taught during the school year, in order to assure the entire curriculum will be accomplished.  Of course, this is a pacing guide and thus may need revision as the school year progresses, but it is a good start to this important part of planning.

In our experience, without training, very few teachers have had assessments that are clearly defined for each component.  Class discussion, or spot checks every so often, are not clear enough assessments to identify the learning progress of each student.  For this reason, some time is required to more clearly identify the formats and criteria of component assessments.  That is not to say that each one must be a long, formal assessment; however, each component assessment must clearly indicate individual, independent learning of the component.  Without these essential component assessments, instruction progresses on the perception of the level of student learning, rather than the clearly identified level of student learning.

Because numerous outcomes are based on what was already in the curriculum, many teachers feel they have previously planned their teaching for those outcomes and that this work is redundant.  In that case, the Instructional Planning Resource process serves as an organizational tool to make sure the past instruction does indeed align with the new curriculum. Often, the verb in the new curriculum will necessitate a change in previous plans.  The concept within the component may not be different, but the verb that describes what the student will be able to do with the concept may require new approaches. After careful scrutiny, if past practice is determined to be appropriate, then using the Instructional Planning Resource simply as the “organizational template” for the methods and activities is the next step. This may include setting up a folder or binder system with past notes or plans, along with materials needed for the instruction. In this case, the Instructional Planning Resource sheet is left mostly blank in the “activities” or “teacher methods” areas, but is included in the folder with the assessments and whatever notes describe possible instruction of the components. For those who feel the instruction is planned, but “in their heads” rather than on paper, this process provides an opportunity to scrutinize whether the past practice truly meets the needs of the new curriculum, and to start jotting down some of those plans for future reference.

Using the Instructional Planning Resource as a template — even if it’s just a guide rather than an actual form to complete — helps teachers to be more careful about thinking ahead to intended results and aligning instruction accordingly. It causes teachers to think about why they are doing what they’re doing, and whether the instruction will indeed yield results.

The CCC may prioritize sections of the Instructional Planning Resource to allow for completion of some portions during the implementation year and other portions by end of the following year. Most CCCs require, at the very least, completion of the pacing guide and assessment descriptions during the first year. The CCC may also determine and communicate that there is no need for extensive writing on the Instructional Planning Resource form itself, as long as the organization of the instructional materials for methods and activities is evident, and clearly planned to align with the outcomes.

Whatever the requirements of the CCC for completion of the Instructional Planning Resource, the intent, timeline, and instructions must be clear to avoid stress and confusion among the faculty as they work to improve student learning.

Step 10: Staff Development is Implemented for Instructional Alignment

Teachers choose their own instructional strategies for the new curriculum. However, to assure student success, instruction must be directly aligned to the curriculum and must include detailed planning of specific elements. Staff development for all teachers of the new curriculum results in Instructional Planning Resources.

Implementation Training

To ensure instructional practices align to the new curriculum, reevaluate past instructional strategies by organizing the following by outcome:

  • instructional plans

  • instructional materials

  • instructional pacing

  • record-keeping

Instructional Plans (you would do only one of the following three ideas)

Create an electronic file folder system for each outcome taught.  Title the folders with the outcome code and a short reminder of the outcome, for instance, “M4.1 – Fractions.”  Make sub-folders as necessary and electronically file the Instructional Planning Resources for that outcome, digital copies of handouts used, digital copies of assessments, and any other information pertinent to teaching the outcome.

Create a physical file folder for each outcome taught.  Label the folders with the outcome code and a short reminder of the outcome, for instance, “M4.1 — Fractions.”  Store the Instructional Planning Resource for that outcome, copies of handouts used, assessments, student samples from previous years, and copies of teaching ideas from magazines inside the folder.  On the outside of the folder, make a list of additional resources and their locations for items that are too large for the folder such as video tapes, models, posters, resource books that have ideas for many different outcomes, and materials that need to be checked out from the library.

Use a ring binder with one section for each outcome taught.  Label the tabs with the outcome code and a short reminder of the outcome.  Use a three-hole punch or clear sheet protectors to organize instructional plans for that outcome, copies of handouts used, assessments, student samples from previous years, and copies of teaching ideas from magazines.  Include a page to list additional resources, pacing notes, etc.

Instructional Materials (you could do any or all of these)

Use plastic milk crates or storage bins to organize materials.  Each bin includes materials for one outcome including teacher resource books, videos, educational games, trade books, and hands-on materials.

Use sticky notes or tabs to mark pages in resource books that relate to outcomes and components.  Leave the note or tab a ¼ inch or so outside of the book and label with the outcome/component number.  Arrange the tabs so they are layered like the tabs in a ring binder.

If you use materials checked out from a resource center or cooperative, keep copies of your request forms with your Instructional Planning Resource to simplify requesting the same materials the following year.

Questions to answer regarding organization of instructional materials:

  1. What are the benefits and drawbacks of organizing materials by outcome?

  2. Should the district require teachers to organize their materials by outcome?

  3. What would organization by outcome look like at all levels? (Elementary, middle, and high school.)

Instructional Pacing (your district may require a specific version, but you can use more than one)

Create a pacing guide at the beginning of each year and use it to stay on track throughout the year.  Store it with your instructional materials in a place that is readily accessible.  A beautifully written curriculum is only valuable if it is actually taught to students; therefore, it is crucial to periodically check instructional pacing to ensure the entire curriculum is taught by the end of the year.  The pacing guide is just what it indicates, a guide.  It will typically change from year to year because your students will also be different.  You will naturally improve your instructional practices and know when to slow down or move ahead; so, if you find that you are not in sync with your pacing guide, you may need to adjust it during the year. However, be careful not to postpone teaching to the extent that you jeopardize your ability to finish the entire curriculum.

The following pages include examples of various types of pacing guides.  Often, a district may choose a general pacing guide similar to the “Quarterly One-Subject” example to get a big picture view of what will be taught by quarter; however, teachers may feel they need a more detailed guide such as the “Weekly Pacing Guide” to create real-time pacing for smaller chunks of curriculum.  There are also many who teach several subjects or courses that may benefit from using the “Multi-Subject Pacing Guide,” which shows the pacing for all subjects/courses on one page.  The format isn’t what’s important—but planning ahead is! There are as many different organization techniques as there are teachers.  Be creative in finding a way that will work best for you!

Questions to answer regarding planning for pacing:

  1. What are the benefits and drawbacks of using a pacing guide?

  2. Will teachers be required to follow district-wide pacing?

  3. Will the district have a required pacing guide format? If so, what will it look like?

Samples Below: Quarterly One-Subject Pacing Guide, Weekly Pacing Guide, Multi-subject Weekly Pacing Guide

Record Keeping

In a results-based system, instructors will find that they must replace assumptions with evidence of student learning of each essential outcome.  Therefore, record-keeping must be organized by outcomes and must also be efficient, accessible, and alterable.

Record-keeping by outcome. In a traditional classroom, the grade book is usually organized by subject and by grading period (such as 1st nine weeks, 2nd nine weeks, and so on).  In a results-based classroom, the grade book must be organized by subject and outcome.  For example, a section of the grade book would be devoted to Math Outcome 1, Math Outcome 2, Math Outcome 3, and so on.  Although two “shorter” outcomes may be placed side by side in one section, organizing by outcome may force teachers to use more than one grade book.  Sometimes teachers prefer to use blank grade sheets kept in a three-ring binder in lieu of a traditional grade book.  Teachers who use an electronic grade book may be somewhat restricted in terms of format, but they still need to think in terms of recording scores by outcome, and to be creative in figuring out how to adapt the format if necessary.

Efficient record-keeping. Suppose that a teacher has a class of twenty students in which recording the results of a single outcome or component took two minutes per student. Record-keeping for three to four sections of the same course at the high school level or three to four subjects at the elementary level would be unreasonable.  However, in a class of twenty students, individual records that can be made in thirty seconds or less would be achievable by most instructors.  It is also more practical for teachers to modify their traditional grade book reporting than to try to keep evidence in two or more places at once.

Accessible record-keeping. In a results-based system, students are active participants in their learning.  Records of students’ mastery of outcomes and components should be accessible to students and their families, especially in the case of older students, where mastery of all outcomes may be a requirement for passing or graduation.  Students should always have the opportunity to check their progress.  Ideally, records should be kept so that one student can see his or her progress easily without violating the privacy of another student.

Alterable record-keeping. If teachers in a district truly teach to mastery, and correctives are applied both within and outside the classroom, records of student achievement cannot be written in stone.  One test score, one paper, or one rating on a rubric will not always serve as the final evaluation of student learning.  Record-keeping must be malleable enough to reflect the successes of a student over time and in a variety of situations.

Instructional Planning Resource (IPR)

The documents below define, describe, and demonstrate the use of the IPR.

Check for Understanding

See how well you critique the following IPR’s.

Download the Instructional Requirements Table in one of the following formats:

Simplifying Daily Planning

Sometimes teachers create the Instructional Planning Resource (IPR), but still continue to do their “regular” daily planning for the same outcome using another planning method.  One of the keys to making the Instructional Planning Resource worthwhile is for it to replace the teacher’s previous planning format. Requiring teachers to make both detailed lesson plans and IPRs will undoubtedly result in a need for more planning time.  Although the Instructional Planning Resource for a complete outcome will include several weeks of instruction, it is not annotated with specific days or dates for each piece.  Therefore, it can be used from year to year even if new groups of students require different pacing or assistance than previous groups.

Building administrators should carefully consider what daily planning methods they will require (if any), which may mean a change from using a traditional “daily planner” or other lesson plans.  Sometimes, when teachers begin using the IPR, they may find the use of other planning methods to be an unnecessary step.  Innovative teachers have found a variety of ways to streamline their daily planning.  For example:

Copying the whole page.  One teacher makes a copy of the Instructional Planning Resource and then writes information directly on the page, such as “Monday and Tuesday” (next to an activity) and “Wednesday” (next to the component assessment).  The teacher then uses only this page for instruction guidelines and doesn’t go back and forth between it and a daily planner.

Copying and pasting.  Another teacher who has the Instructional Planning Resource on computer copies and pastes the items he wants to use onto a clean sheet, and then uses these pages in place of the daily planner.

“Sticky notes.”  A third teacher puts small “sticky notes” (some rectangular, some shaped like arrows) directly on the Instructional Planning Resource page.  She then jots simple plans or reminders on these notes, such as “Thursday” on an arrow pointing to an assessment, or “do parts A and B” on a rectangular note next to an activity.

Create hyperlinks.  Another teacher hyperlinks her IPRs to the component and activity numbers in her online plan book. This way when her administrator checks her plan for the day, he may simply click on the link and the detailed description in the IPR pops right up. No need to double the work!

Steps 11-17

Step 11:  Internal Validation Process is Implemented

The subject area committee is responsible for making certain new curriculum can be effectively used by teachers. This involves implementing the validation procedures planned at the end of year one.

All teachers have the right and responsibility to report problems with the new curriculum, as well as its effectiveness.

Step 12:  SAC Makes Adjustments to Document and Collects Resources

Adjustments to the curriculum are made in accordance with teacher feedback and validation findings. Publishers and distributors are contacted to send sample resources for preview.


Resources may or may not be previewed now, depending on the number and degree of document adjustments.

Step 13: Council and Board Approve Revisions to Curriculum Document and Final Draft is Published

Step 14: SAC Requests and Coordinates Subject Specific Training, if Needed

Further recommendations concerning staff development may be needed, depending on individual district circumstances and SAC decisions.

Step 15:  SAC Identifies Resources

Resources are selected that are compatible with the locally prepared, high achievement curriculum. Resources may include a wide variety of items other than textbooks.

Step 16:  SAC Prepares Assessments According to Council Guidelines and Makes Recommendations for Their Implementation

The SAC work with grade-level teachers to create common assessments and criteria. Like the curriculum, these assessments must be validated.

Step 17: Assessments are Validated

Teachers provide feedback and the SAC revises where needed to assure assessments meet district needs for evaluation of learning and provision of data.

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