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Mar 5, 2015
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Summary of the Six Principles of Effective Curriculum Design

  1. Big Ideas: Limit the number of new concepts introduced in a lesson, and focus first on the most basic concepts before advancing to the more complex concepts. Be sure that students understand one concept before introducing the second. For example, reserve teaching synonyms until students are firm on the basic concept. The concepts of comparatives and superlatives should be withheld until the basic concepts are clearly established. When introducing comparatives and superlatives, introduce comparatives first; then, after students consistently use comparatives, introduce superlatives.

  2. Conspicuous Strategies: Use clear models to teach basic concepts. Use simple language.

  3. Mediated Scaffolding: Limit the number of concepts introduced, and separate those that are likely to be confused. To reduce the language demands, refrain from introducing two new and unfamiliar labels in one day. It is also important to provide sufficient guided practice for the group before progressing to individual turns.

  4. Strategic Integration: When the basic concepts are reliably known by learners, introduce comparative and superlative concepts strategically to build higher-order skills. Higher-order skills will not be useful or reliable if the basic concepts are not firm.

  5. Judicious Review: To really "know" a concept students must use it frequently and in a variety of concepts. Lessons following the initial lesson should apply new concepts to build up the students' ability to remember and recall the concepts.

  6. Primed Background Knowledge: A frequent limitation of early language programs is using language that learners may not understand. If the objective of the lesson is to introduce the concept big and little, then directions that tell children we will "compare" objects may not be meaningful. Examine the instructional language carefully to determine whether it will need to be simplified. It is also important to ensure that students have the prerequisite knowledge before using that knowledge in more complex contexts.

*Excerpted from Toward Successful Inclusion of Students with Disabilities: The Architecture of Instruction by Edward J. Kameenui, and Deborah Simmons(1999).

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Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

Highlights

Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon
Join the Galactic Hot Dogs Reading Marathon! Read each episode as it's re-released with newly revealed facts, behind-the-scenes illustrations, and the inside scoop. Make it official by pledging on the blog to read each chapter with Cosmoe. Your students will love following the exploits of these space travelers, and you'll love the educational elements that can easily be paired to the stories.

Handwashing Awareness
Kids are especially susceptible to contracting and spreading viruses during the winter months. Prevention starts with proper handwashing. Show students how to keep germs away.

March Calendar of Events
March is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: National School Breakfast Week (3/2-6), World Orphan Week (3/4-11), Boston Massacre (3/5/1770), Daylight Saving Time Begins (3/8), International Women's Day (3/8), Teen Tech Week (3/8-14), Pi Day (3/14), St. Patrick's Day (3/17), Spring Begins (3/20), Make Your Own Holiday Day (3/26), and World Theatre Day (3/27). Plus, celebrate Deaf History Month (3/15-4/15), Music In Our Schools Month, Women's History Month, and Youth Art Month!

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

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Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month. Talk to your students about the accomplishments women have made—as well as the adversity they have faced.


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