Zachary J Baehr

#3 – From curriculum to content: Sharing your highlights

It is a rare occurrence that a parent gets to witness the teaching and learning in a living, breathing classroom. We have to take these messages to them in the form of photos and videos.

This means photos and videos (sights and sounds) from the various classes of all your academic departments and grade level. Image a page devoted to fifth grade including:

  • the names and headshots of the fifth-grade teachers with links to their full page;
  • a breakdown of the subjects and broad topics covered in each, including key events (science fair, field trip, etc.);
  • a list of activities fifth-graders can be involved with (with links to learn more about those as well);
  • photos from previous school years of students partaking in the various activities.

This allows families (and students) to better understand what is being taught and the high-level expectations within the classes. Families moving in can quickly see how your curriculum topics match their previous school’s topics. I say this with some hesitation, but this doesn’t have to be that hard! Most of this information can be found tucked away in a rarely used printed handbook, or slightly better, a PDF hidden somewhere on our website for staff only. Bring this information to life, take them out of the PDF (for this purpose), and organize it in a way that families can easily journey virtually through their child’s school year. 

It’s hard to decide if your child should be involved in an activity or sport if you don’t know how often they meet, compete, practice, or otherwise get together outside of a normal school day. It can be helpful at the elementary and junior high levels to have a chart that lists the grades columns at the top and the various activities and sports along the left-hand side. Put a checkmark in each box to indicate that this grade level can participate in that activity. This is the easiest way to see who can sing in the special choir, or be in student council, or join the afterschool reading program. Each activity on the left can be linked to find more information about that activity, and even each grade level could be linked to the appropriate page.

Yes, I believe third grade should have a page to house all the information about curriculum; so should science and math and electives. This does not need to be the place where everything is uploaded and kept current, but it can be. The primary purpose is to create a user-friendly guide for parents and students in your school.

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