Tips for Mapping Materials to Your District Curriculum (Part 2)

Person climbing a staircase to reach success. The first step is labeled "Learning," the next is labeled "Training." The third step is labeled "Instruction," and four step is "Practice." The top step is labeled "Success."

This is the second of two blog posts about mapping instructional materials to a district curriculum. The first blog discussed developing a common definition of alignment, becoming familiar with your materials, and important considerations when identifying citations (lessons, activities, quizzes) in your materials to map to the district curriculum. This blog contains five more tips.

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Tips for Mapping Materials to Your District Curriculum (Part 1)

Curriculum Mapping Metaphor: Image of a square peg on top of a round hole

As you may have experienced, curriculum mapping can feel like you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In this blog, we shared five important tips for mapping instructional materials to your district curriculum. Since that blog was published, we have helped many more districts with various curriculum alignment tasks. In this two-part blog series, we share a few more tips from our experience.

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Mapping Resources to your District Curriculum

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Districts invest significant time, resources, and money into the development of curriculum and the purchase of instructional materials. A lack of consistency between the sequence of the curriculum and the sequence of instructional materials can be a hurdle to implementation of both.

Mapping instructional resources to the district curriculum will support teachers with planning so that lessons and activities from instructional materials are in sync with the curriculum. 

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Defining Roles: Standards vs. Curriculum vs. Instructional Materials

FocusEducators and publishers often use the terms “standards,” “curriculum” and/or “instructional materials” interchangeably. Moreover, many educators consider their instructional materials to be their curriculum. However, each of these terms represents a distinct component of an educational program. In the sections that follow, we provide explanations of each of these terms to differentiate their meanings in the context of PreK-12 education.

Standards set out what students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of each school year. Standards are generally established at the state level. In fact, ESSA requires that each state create learning standards for public schools in three subjects—English language arts/reading, mathematics, and science—and many states go beyond ESSA’s minimum to set standards in social studies, career and technical education, languages other than English, and other subjects.

In contrast, the curriculum is developed at the district level, the product of local policy making. While the standards tell you what is expected, the curriculum provides the road map to get there. Often described in documents such as “scope and sequence” and “units of instruction,” a curriculum includes goals, instructional practices and pedagogical guidance, suggested resources and instructional materials, and methods of measuring student progress. [Read more…]

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