Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Activities and Discussion

Activity: Workshop Discussion

Review what you know about Big Ideas. (20 minutes)

Break into discussion groups, with each group concentrating on one of the three classroom examples featured in the program. Use the questions below to guide the small-group conversations.

Questions for Segment One:

In the first segment we watched as sixth-graders had a visceral experience that helped them understand what all cultures have in common.
  • What did you see as the Big Idea in this Unit?

  • How did the organization of the unit help students understand the Big Idea?
  • How are big ideas important in guiding curriculum and the sequence of instruction?

Questions for Segment Two:

In the second segment, eighth-graders gained a deeper understanding of what makes their neighborhood special.

  • What were the Big Ideas in this teaching example?
  • Where did you see evidence that a Big Idea focuses student learning?
  • What are some other ways of guiding student learning within an arts integrated context?

Questions for Segment Three:

In the third segment we saw students studying history through the lens of the play Our Town, gaining insights into the past, present, and future.

  • What were some of the instructional strategies you observed?

  • How do the learning experiences we see in this example take students beyond their understanding of the play, to wider concepts or skills?

  • What Big Ideas might the students understand as a result of studying this play and time period?

As a group, discuss ways to tune your instruction toward the teaching of Big Ideas.
(20 minutes)

Consider these questions:

  • Is teaching using Big Ideas a new concept for you?
  • How do you typically go about planning your curriculum?
  • How do you go about deciding what you want students to get out of a particular unit?
  • In planning your curriculum, do you tend to start with a Big Idea that you want students to come away from the unit with or do you let the Big Ideas emerge out of the material concentrated on during the unit?

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