Curriculum and Instruction » Curriculum Overview and Today's Learning Environment

Curriculum Overview and Today's Learning Environment


Students today face more challenges than ever, but they also have more opportunities than ever. Texas education standards continue to increase, and the school district curriculum must also increase its rigor to help students be successful. When students graduate, they will compete against peers from other countries for admission to top universities and for positions in our creative global economy. The educational foundation provided at SISD offers our students a platform and skill set for life on their own, whether they pursue college, advanced technical training, or immediately enter the workforce.

We are creating a BLENDED LEARNING environment where TECHNOLOGY is embedded into our curriculum and the learning process.  Our educational activities and projects are student driven and established to make real world and meaningful connections where higher order thinking skills are required.  (click above for video 2)

 As we focus on a continuous improvement model as educators and leaders, we ensure that each of our students have the necessary examples and resources to take ownership of their education and improvement. Our model means aligning our efforts with the district, each department, campus, teacher, and ultimately, the students.  Everyone must work together to prepare each student to have the 21st century edge for their selected future field. Our students will be more prepared than the best competitors out there.

TCEA BLOG Content Areas  Google Tips and Tricks

Google-izing the 5E Lesson Model

5e model
Source: Eve Heaton
Written by Diana Benner

Design 5E model lessons that blend what you know about Google Suites for Education tools. Come along as we explore the possibilities.

Ready to blend Google Suites for Education tools into inquiry-based lessons? A wide variety of approaches exist, none more popular than the 5E Model. Let’s see how the 5E Model combines with Google Suites for Education to make learning engaging.

Google-izing the 5E Lesson Plan Model

The 5E Lesson Plan model has five components. Those components appear below. With these, you will see specific examples of Google Suites for Education tools.

1- Engage

Boredom in schools has a dire effect on learning. Bored students perform less well on tests (Source). In one research study, over half of students defined their school experience as boring. The 5E Lesson seeks to engage students so that they will retain learning. How can you accomplish this with G Suite tools?

One approach involves creating virtual field trips. Rather than giving students a textbook map, have them make one. Students can use Google Tour Builder to create an interactive journey. See this example for language learning combined with history.

Another approach may involve having students craft their own infographicsView this social studies infographic that captures the essence of infographics in schools. You can see many more examples of Tony Vincent’s #classygraphics online.

2- Explore

Once you engage students in learning, make time for independent and group exploration of the topic. This allows them to develop and pursue interests grounded in the topic. Explore topics in such a way that students must figure things out without all the details being filled in for them. In PBL, this is known as presenting students with an ill-structured problem.

When using G Suites for Education tools, use the new Google Sites to create a digital breakout. Why does this approach work? It challenges students to pay close attention to details that lead them to create their own gestalt of the topic. The mind, psychologists say, has “an innate disposition to perceive patterns.” Not sure how to create your own digital breakout with Google tools? See this list of resources.

Another way to use G Suites is to create a digital choice board or multimedia text set (MMTS). Find ample examples of both online.

3- Explain

Students have had the chance to be engaged. They have explored the topic in detail, so now you can start to share your expertise with them. One way to scaffold student learning has them creating a T-chart to help them examine two aspects of an object, situation, or event. This allows them to compare diverse ideas.

Image Source: Frazier Statue

You can create T-charts in Google SlidesGoogle Docs, or Google Drawings. Find other chart templates here.

4- Elaborate

Learners may often need to revisit a topic from a different angle. Using differentiation techniques, you can empower students to dig deeper. The purpose of the focused hyperdoc is to allow students to explore a topic from various angles. For example, elaboration may involve enriching or extending a lesson. For other students, revisiting an activity at a slower pace with more teacher support may be needed.

One simple approach involves a focused hyperdoc. You can create a hyperdoc that either extends, enriches, or scaffolds student learning. Rather than create a detailed hyperdoc, use one of the simpler templates available in Google Docs.

5- Evaluate

Ready to assess? Have students use G Suites tools to create visual representations of their ideas. These creations can take many forms, whether Google Sheets graphs of data or something more creative. For example, students can design digital ebooks with Google Slides or Google Docs and then export them to ePub ebook format.

Putting It All Together

You may have read of all these approaches in TCEA TechNotes blog entries. Remember, the 5E Model can be combined with G Suites tools. It’s easy to imagine any one approach as the only one to use. Blend them to create engaging lessons that showcase student learning.