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January 3, 2013

Concept-based Curriculum and Transition

by Elaine Cook

Our Transition Department attended a workshop on Concept-based Curriculum & Instruction earlier this fall,  led by Lynn Erickson and Lois Lanning.  We want to share some ah-ha moments from our trainings, and hopefully you will be able to see how this impacts the overall transition of our students/children.

Concept-based Curriculum is defined by Erickson as “a three-dimensional curriculum design model that frames the factual and skill content of subject areas with disciplinary  concepts and generalizations.”   So… what is the difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional curriculum designs?  The two-dimensional model is what we  have mostly used in education – – it focuses on facts and skills.  In addition to facts and skills, the three-dimensional model also focuses on concepts, which helps develop a deeper understanding and application of the material.

It is easy to see that helping all of our students be able to apply what they learn is critical.  Simply memorizing facts for a test which are then immediately forgotten (because there is no application/conceptual understanding) does not help them later in life.

As we read and learn more about Concept-based Curriculum and instruction, we will share tidbits  with you.  After all, our ultimate goal is to  help our students be as best prepared for life after high school, right?

For more information, check out Lois Lanning’s book “Designing a Concept-based Curriculum for English Language Arts” and Dr. Lynn Erickson’s book “Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom.”

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