Curriculum, Common Core and Alignment ~Tampico American School Jumps In!

Leticia Perez, Director General of The American School of Tampico brought the entire school together to begin the process becoming a model 21st century international school. The opening session was led by Sherrye Dotson, an award winning designer of 21st century schools. The staff was introduced to the process which involves multiple facets of change, many of which can seem overwhelming to everyone because the inter- relationship between each component.

Leticia Perez, Director General of The American School of Tampico was engaged in every detail of planning the inservice for the school.

Small group sessions on the Rigor and Relevance Framework and the P 21 Model cemented their understanding of how they would navigate the goals and bring the vision to life.

Every teacher had a choice to select summer reading and all books lead to the same 21st century road.

The high school admin team is a wonderful support system for the staff.

The Change Process is Challenging!

Very often we hear people discuss the move to the common core curriculum. It's a model that changes students from inactive absorbers of information to involved and engaged problem solvers. But what does this process entail?

When you start to adopt new standards, you quickly realize that it also requires changing how you are going to measure them. And of course that implies the design of new measurements. The new standards speak of raising the rigor, which is not about changing the number of questions you ask of the students, but it's about the type of questions you ask the students. All of that is in addition to aligning the standards to your curriculum! Concurrently once you start using standards you have to find a way to report student progress to the students and the parents, which means a new reporting system is necessary. And you have to find a way to deliver the curriculum to match the standards, the curriculum and the assessments in a world that is constantly changing. Twenty first century learning is a complex process that is best served with the use of Problem Based Learning (PBL.)

So what is the challenge? The challenge is committing to all of the components, keeping staff involved because they understand the moral

Introducing Dr. Meredith Harbord

Meredith is an experienced Australian design teacher, currently working out of Melbourne, Australia. She comes to Core 21 through her experience as an International Art and Design teacher, with her career spanning Oman, the UK, and Brunei as well as her native Australia. She is an experienced MYP (IB) Design coordinator, and an expert in design thinking- leading from her passionate belief in inquiry based learning. She is currently working on a book for middle years teachers on the topic, enfolding her personal beliefs in ethics and inquiry into new curriculum directions. She is excited to be on a team where she can share her experience and passion for authentical professional development, encourage the teaching of ethical problem solving, and develop an educational interest in modern technology and techniques in the classroom.

Teachers from every grade level must see what their role is in the new adoption.

21st century professional development takes time. ATS has planned for teacher engagement in their change process for the next few years.

purpose of the changes and anticipating the learning dip, while all of this is in progress. Initial excitement is evident, detractors will always make themselves known, but the prize is student engagement and students who are ready for the real world.

How do you get started? Once the decision is made to change, the beginning must start with teacher education. The following components must be included:

What do you want students to be able to do when they graduate? What do teachers have to know in order to get there?

What will the standards look like?

How will you assess the standards?

How will you report the standards?

How will instruction change? What new skills do teachers need?

What new documents do teachers need and who will write them?

What new resources do teachers need?

How will you roll out the changes?

How will you support the changes with staff development? How will the process look to the school board?

Where should you start?

The struggle to get it right is fluid. Everyone must be ready to try new learning strategies and to revise when necessary. The American School of Tampico is moving through it with grace and determination!

Teacher engagement is as important as student engagement in the process of change.

Design Thinking and Maker Spaces for 21st century skills

As educators, we realise the importance in promoting 21st century skills for our students. Design Thinking actually supports developing these skills and gives teachers the structure to teach critical thinking. Currently, there is a lot being written about using Design Thinking in schools, but how to implement this is often seen as just a minor facet of the process. The Design Thinking Cycle easily fits into existing units of work and this process is then used as a tool to problem solve issues with faculty, administration, and even parents. The Design Thinking Cycle and Maker Spaces are natural partners for participatory learning, not just educational buzzwords that have taken the pedagogical world by storm. Makerspaces are places that encourage hands on learning and foster innovation, experimentation and creativity; while there is certainly an element that involves complex technology, (with 3d printers, robotics, and laser cutters, just to name a few examples), there are also cheaper options for

robotics, and laser cutters, just to name a few examples), there are also cheaper options for

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