Curriculum Design for Dummies

Wordle-LitmanI have been busy these past few weeks. My co-teachers and I were given the task of writing up curriculum guides for our respective classes for our upcoming AI accreditation process. It was a challenging task that took lots of hours of research, looking at other curriculum guides, and hours spent writing up my own. I had to write a guide for our elementary program, grades 3-5. Grades 1-2 were assigned to my colleague.

I was a bit overwhelmed about writing a guide for three grades over five core subjects: English Grammar, Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies. After it was all said and done, my final document came out to be 118 pages in all. I broke up each grade into sections, and also included appendices which contained a sample lesson plan for each grade (by course), and sample assessments (one per course).

*While we have art and PE class, students don’t have them more than once a week, they’re not as intensive, so I did not include those classes in my guide. I did have to write a (separate) PE curriculum guide for the elementary program a few months ago, though.


So, how do you design a curriculum guide?

It’s best to start with this graphic:


This graphic shows the design process – which has four steps. It’s a continuous process as curriculum is frequently being assessed, updated, and updated again to better suit the learning needs of students, more effective teaching methods and content.

If you have to design a curriculum ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What am I teaching?
  2. What are ideal vs. expected outcomes?
  3. What are effective teaching methods to engage students of various learning types?
  4. How can I formally and accurately assess learning?

Each step is important to developing a comprehensive and grade-appropriate curriculum and outcomes. This is another great graphic to use:


It is best to keep the format in a structured and easily readable format. Start with an overview of the course content, move into more specific topics of focus, and then state learning objectives and procedures. You should also include a full year syllabus along with sample lesson plans and assessments.

For more detailed information, go here. This website can inform you better than I can about the whole process. I can only tell you how much of a pain it is to write-up a curriculum guide.

1 Comment

Filed under Curriculum Design, Education, learning, Lesson Planning, Private Education, Public Education, Teaching, Thinking, Writing

One response to “Curriculum Design for Dummies

  1. Pingback: Post #2 – Chantel's Service Learning Blog

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