“My daughter has written memoirs every year for the past 7 years!” Matt Glover exclaimed to teachers the other day. “She’s so sick of this genre! And that’s not even the worst part! The worst part is, there isn’t a single adult in her school who knows this fact. There were no intentional decisions that this was such a valuable genre that it should be taught to the exclusion of other genres. It just happened, because the teachers aren’t talking vertically about what they’re teaching.”
I’m sure you have heard of, or experienced similar stories in your years as an educator. The elementary kids who have studied dinosaurs every year for three years, but never studied space. The secondary students who have only read books by white authors for the past five years. With teachers laser focused on their own content, it’s easy for the vertical alignment to go askew. Clearly, no educators meant for their programs to end up repetitive and reductive.
As teachers we tend to focus on those activities with more immediate impact for the students. But sometimes, serving our students means taking the time to collaborate with our fellow educators, to make sure our program will continue to serve our students’ learning as they progress beyond the doors of our own classroom.
To this end, the Office of Learning has come up with this handy graphic to let you check if a change you’d like to make to your curriculum is one that your team can make or one that should have a vertical review.
If you would like to see the vertical view of our curriculum, we have made unit titles, essential questions, and enduring understandings public on our website, here!