I’m hearing a lot of talk about people who are getting really fancy and very over-the-top in their Common Core curriculum mapping and I don’t know about you, but it makes me really nervous and skittish.

First off, let me be really clear: about 99.9% of the people who throw around the term “curriculum mapping” don’t really know what that means in the real world and for the real educators out there.  I mean they might have a totally intense, 100-step process that tires everyone out and confuses most (maybe that’s the point?  Ha!), but here’s the bottom line of curriculum mapping in my world (and by “my world” I mean in real schools with real people getting real things done): I don’t care what you call it as long as you’re getting things done.  And getting the right things done.

Here’s our very fancy, you-need-a-dictionary-to-figure-out-what-I’m-talking-about, Yale and Harvard approved, high-level curriculum mapping and strategic planning process:

  1. List your top 3 instructional priorities/things you’re implementing/programs you’re trying/interventions you’re using
  2. Take your first instructional priority thing (how’s THAT for good research-based thinking – Harvard would be so proud) and brainstorm the 20 things that will need to take place in order for that “thing” to happen.  Be very specific and very, very ticky tacky – – we don’t want “big ideas” – this is a to-do list only full of simple actions that can be done in less than 2 hours
  3. Prioritize the actions in some sort of sequence that makes sense to you (don’t get stuck in over-analyzing this) and cross off anything that’s off-topic or repetitive
  4. Take out a big calendar or slap each month of next school year on a big post-it chart paper (this is my preferred method –  it’s research-based!)
  5. Start to plot 1-2 action steps (in your prioritized order) onto each month
  6. Then go and do the same for the next 2-3 instructional focus areas (you’ll end up with 6-9 actions total each month)
  7. Give your colleagues a high five and say, “Yeah!  We just curriculum mapped and strategic planned – nice job!”
  8. Now go and take a sip of Diet Coke or whatever legal afternoon libation that lifts your spirits

I’m secretly hoping that no one reads this blog and tries to report me to the mucky mucks who make zillions with fancy systems of how to curriculum map.  I’d rather this just stay a secret between the two of us!

But, just like the picture at the top of this post, I believe…No Actually I KNOW that the way that we’re going to get things done, curricularly speaking or otherwise is by brainstorming, prioritizing and scheduling.

It’s curriculum mapping or strategic planning by GETTING THINGS DONE!  Go figure.