Integrating Content, Skill Development, Research and Real-World Experiences: The “Discovery and Innovation” Model for K-12

Given the increasing pace of change throughout the world corresponding changes must be made in content so that students are prepared for the current and future environments that they will be expected to succeed in.

The core content represents the skills all students will need to learn over time as the demands of the future change. The skills support communication, thinking, and creating. The core skills included are the building blocks of what students will need to be life-long learners.

Many aspects of the school environment are not adequate enough to prepare students for the future. Technology continues to advance and open new opportunities for learning. The internet provides access to the world’s information and renders most text books obsolete. The curriculum framework provides a basis for designing a curriculum that is flexible and responds readily to changes in what students need to know and be able to do. The design frees students and teachers to the boundaries of textbook.

What makes the TLC – L12 curriculum design fundamentally different than others is the integration of content, skill development, research, and real world experiences that require students to apply new knowledge using high performance skills. New knowledge is not useful until it contributes to the invention of new ideas, products or services.

The TLC – L12 curriculum works across curriculum areas integrating math, science, communication, expression, systems thinking, global studies, technology, and leadership coupled with creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. More than ten years have gone into the design and development of the curriculum maps used at TLC.

Curriculum Map
Displayed in a sub-section below is a curicculum map from a tri-semester unit with the theme “Water, Earth & Life – Elements of the Earth”. This curriculum map integrates science, mathematics, communication, expression, systems thinking, global studies, responsibility and leadership, health and fitness, technology, information, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship into student learning.

The curriculum map is constructed to provide an over-view of the tri-semester so teachers, students and parents have a learning road map. All those concerned with learning know from this map what skills are being developed, what projects are planned and generally when it is expected. The map is designed to support project-based learning; a student focused learning path and mastery. The design supports and advocates for progression based on student abilities, learning styles, learning preferences across traditional grade levels or assignments.

The curriculum maps are aligned with college and work experiences. All students at the high school level are require to spend time off campus engaged in internships, community service, and work experiences that provide real world application. The curriculum map and expectations for students are focused and coherent. Learning does not just happen – the work of teachers is tenacious in the development of knowledge and skills that are applied to real experience.

Core standards (state and federal) are embedded in all curriculum maps ensuring that students are competent in all core areas. All curriculum maps include:

  • Curriculum that is continuously updated
  • Common core standards
  • Assessment
  • Project based learning
  • Research
  • Real world experiences
  • Internet based resources

All curriculum maps and units of instruction include the elements of “STEM” embedded in learning. Science, technology, engineering and math are building blocks of the curriculum.

The curriculum maps and guides include the following:

  • Tri-semester Curriculum Map – The map provides a structure for the tri-semester that integrates all elements of the curriculum framework, core standards, assessment, projects, field experiences and resources.
  • Specific Units of Instruction – Each curriculum map is supported by a detailed unit of instruction.
  • Lesson Plans – All units of instruction include detailed lesson plans supporting each phase of the unit of instruction. Teachers continually update, revise and share the lesson plans. The lesson plans are available electronically to teacher.
  • Electronic Resources – All maps, units and lessons are articulated with learning resources found on the world wide web. In this learning design few hard copy materials are necessary and no text books required.

The TLC – L12 curriculum maps free teachers and students from the confinement of textbooks to engage in personalize learning. It frees financial resources to invest in a technology and other resources supporting personalized learning.







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