Planning & Writing an 8th Grade Language Arts Advanced Curriculum Map
Strategies for Writing a Curriculum Map
When planning and writing an eight grade language arts curriculum map, it helps to know where you have been to figure out where you want to go. To begin, gather all of the language arts teachers in the middle school. Ask them to write down on a chronological time line what each person teaches in a year. If there is more than one teacher for each grade level, each teacher can write in the same section.
One great tip is to place a long sheet of paper that spans a very long wall. The paper can be bulletin board paper that comes on a roll. Once teachers complete this arduous task, the roll of paper should be kept to refer to later.
Understanding What is Currently Taught
After the curriculum map of what is currently being taught is complete, teachers need to analyze what is on the sheet. Questions teachers need to ask the following questions:
- Is anything being taught in more than one grade level? Should it be?
- Are any novels being taught in more than one grade level? Are the novels being taught appropriate for the grade level?
- What types of creative writing, research, poetry, short stories, etc. are taught at each grade level? Is there repetition? Is the repetition a good thing?
- At what grade levels are students completing speeches?
- At what grade levels is test preparation for state reading and writing tests happening?
A good idea is to take the long sheet of paper and type of each grade level's current map. Then, each grade level teacher will know what is being taught in the grades below and above. After the middle school current map is analyzed, teachers can begin to tweak or write new curriculum map.
Planning an Advanced Language Arts
To begin to plan a curriculum map for an advanced language arts class, teachers need to look at what is being taught currently and decide how to make an advanced class. Teachers should have the state standards, benchmarks and indicators handy when planning an advanced curriculum map. In addition, the following questions can be asked to guide writing the new curriculum.
- How should an advanced class be different than a general language arts class?
- How should the advanced class be organized? Will there be a theme or a focus for the class?
- How will students be selected to be in the class? Will it be for talented and gifted students? Some states have stipulations for testing and identifying talented and gifted students. Or, will it just be for more advanced students who are bright but who may or may not have talented and gifted identification?
Once teachers know where they have been and where they want to go, they need to use the state indicators and benchmarks to drive the curriculum. For the advanced language arts classroom, novel choice is very important. Novels chosen by the teacher can help the teacher to develop the curriculum around the books and the themes within these books. However, the novels need to be higher level but also of interest to eighth grade students. Finding a balance sometimes can be difficult but not impossible. The key is to figure out what interests the students and try novels that focus on those interests when planning and writing an eight grade language arts curriculum map.