The Curriculum Catalyst – Stage 1 – Add your ideas and votes

It is clear from our collective efforts as an education community we can create some excellent resources. The “Interesting Ways” series has illustrated how single contributions to a collective can be extremely useful. This has been underlined by the “Maths Maps” too.

The “Interesting Ways” series has focused on single tools and how these can be implemented in different ways in the classroom. I think we can do the same for curriculum ideas around a single topic.

It is one thing seeing individual ideas in the above presentations or in blog posts from teachers who share them, but these are often less accessible to the majority of teachers than we think. They are either too tool-specific or in the case of reading ideas in blog posts they can be difficult to apply to the general classroom.

The Curriculum Catalyst is about crowd-sourcing topic ideas – creating a resource that can be printed off, yes printed, to form the basis for more detailed planning. With the English primary curriculum in a period of flux we are in a great position to push the creative agenda more and more – online networks allow us the opportunity to collaborate on a simple resource to support this.

Curriculum Catalyst
Stage 1 of this is about gathering topic ideas. Of course these can be ones that already exist that you have in fact already delivered. Perhaps it is a book or film, a subject topic or historical figure. They should not be fixed to an age group so the process is broadly applicable to as many classrooms as possible.

To contribute your ideas we will use Google Moderator which allows for a community to contribute and then vote on different items. Please have a look at The Curriculum Catalyst series over the next few weeks and “submit an idea” or vote for the ideas already contributed.

After a period of voting we will then take the top topic, Stage 2 will be about adding your ideas to support or engage learners within that topic. I don’t have any set ideas for which tool to use for Stage 2 and so would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. Ideally anyone should be able to see the document and print off a copy in it’s present form.

I hope you can help with the first stage of this new project by contributing your ideas and votes. Crowd-sourcing education resources has become a genuinely valuable process. Our collective efforts should be able to generate some great curriculum ideas.

  1. This is a wonderful blog page. I have already been back repeatedly during the last 7 days and want to join your rss utilizing Google but can’t learn the way to do it accurately. Do you know of any instructions?

  2. This is a great idea Tom and one which will provide a wealth of fantastic ideas for curriculum use. I too was thinking of mindmapping software as a possible Stage 2 tool or perhaps creating a wiki of some kind?

  3. This is an excellent idea and application of Google Moderator. It is great to see someone making a good effort to utilize Moderator in a real and useful manner. I do have hope for improvements and potential of Moderator as it matures. More applications and uses such as this will likely drive that forward. Nice.

  4. I've just added some ideas for teaching geography to your list Tom – many of these come from thinking that was shared by Hampshire Teachers as part of their Primary Geography Champions Group (though the Google Moderator software doesn't like me keep on mentioning this as it assumes that each of these suggestions are similar!! – that's computers for you!) http://geographychampions.ning.com/

    I've been involved with a fair amount of curriculum development over the years and I feel that this is at its best when it comes from teachers `making the curriculum' for their particular children and school and their individual enthusiasms – we all learn best from enthusiastic and passionate people! I'm not sure that it is possible to design curriculum resources by `committee', so to speak, but I do think we can take ideas that people share and use them as the `spark' that we adapt for our own particular circumstances. One of the very best `curriculum making' projects I've ever been involved in started with input from me in Sheffield (and my colleague Paula in Kent) and involved teachers developing their own ideas linked to `making geography come alive', fieldwork and ESD. We had films made (Little Red Riding Hood – Year 2) and Photostory3 videos about the environment + lots of other great ideas. The teachers work can be found at: http://www.geography.org.uk/projects/younggeogr

  5. Fantastic idea. I have added a few ideas of my own. I think that this will prove to be a great project especially with the implementation of the new Primary Curriculum.

  6. @robertd1981 Great idea to encourage children to also get involved. We went through the process of gathering ideas from our classes earlier this year, much of which I have added to the pot. Google Moderator series would work well on a local / schoolwide level too I think.

  7. (@dawnhallybone) There are already so many ideas! The fishbowl idea has pushed this one, we need something more tangible and accessible to all from our efforts. Maybe this will fit the bill. The key thing will be to get Stage 2 right.

  8. (@primarypete_) Whichever tool we use I would like it to produce a well formatted printed page. Working with online docs is straightforward for us but something printed will make it more accessible for the vast majority of teachers.

  9. This is a great idea Tom and one which will provide a wealth of fantastic ideas for curriculum use. I was thinking of mindmapping sofware as a possible Stage 2 tool or perhaps a wiki of some kind?
    I'll look forward to contributing and voting on 'The Catalyst'.

  10. (@davestacey) Thanks Dave, I suppose it is an effort to step up our networks to create resources that are applicable beyond those same networks. Crucially I want to see this produce a piece of paper that teachers can take along to staff meetings and share with colleagues when planning.

  11. Look forward to collaborating on 'the catalyst'! Interesting you have mentioned mindmap software for stage 2 Dawn – I was actually thinking it was best to stay away from them 🙂 I use it for our theme / topic medium term planning and I find that it can be quite restrictive as once a few 'nodes' have been created your ideas are funneled through those nodes or similar thinking. I think that if the main purpose of the project is for as many wonderful and varied ideas as possible a different solution to mindmapping is needed. Problem is I don't know what it is yet 🙂

  12. Another great idea and post Tom 🙂 The fishbowl on Thursday has really made me think about how we plan – during the evening I suggested using mindmeister or bubbl.us within the ning as a way of combining ideas – not sure if these would work for step 2. Love the idea of taking this global and having a wide range of ideas – looking forward to seeing how it develops

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