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style guide

20 Jul A Style Guide Enhances Your School’s Mapping Process

By Graham Wilkins, Rubicon International

Check out the two scenarios below – do either of these sound familiar?

Scenario #1:

School leadership is ready. Your team has thought long and hard about the plans for documenting your curriculum.  Timelines are in place, goals have been set, and you are ready to introduce the process to the teachers!  The big day finally arrives and everyone gets ready to begin.  Faculty members log in, and after a bit of exploration have the basics down pat.  Most have already gotten started on creating their unit calendars.

The next step is to start filling in those boxes! What is the content students are learning?  What big questions do you want them to ponder?  Then the questions come.  They come in a variety of forms, but are virtually inevitable“What belongs here?”  “How much should I put in this category?”  “Does this look right?”

Scenario #2:

Your school has spent the past couple years working on documenting your curriculum.  PD and work time has taken place to get things going and everyone is ready for the next phase: curriculum review.  Department teams and grade level groups get together and begin running some reports in Atlas.

The information is good, but it is quickly evident that there is a lack of consistency.  Some have whole paragraphs of information in their Content section, while others have a short, bulleted list.  Standards have been linked back into assessments in some classes, but not in others.  Conversations quickly change from whether or not skills are being covered in the expected places to how it seems like you are comparing apples to oranges.

Either one of these sound familiar? If so, a style guide for your mapping process could be an easy solution.

What can this look like in Atlas?

1. Schools often have a style guide built in to their unit planner by clicking on a link.

2. Others will have it set up as a distinct course in their Atlas platform.

3. Or, some schools do both!

Any of these approaches work well, just make sure that your team knows where to find it (and that you update it as your curriculum process grows and develops over time!). And, by using Atlas or any of the various cloud storage systems out there, you can house the guide online in order to have access to quickly update it as needed.  

Here are a couple of examples of what some others have done, plus one of our own:

To get started, you can export your school’s unit planner as a Word doc, create a Style Guide course in your Atlas system, or use our Style Guide as a starting point – please let us know how we can help! Email us at pd@rubicon.com.

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