Saturday, February 9, 2008

Spiral Curriculum

Found this in the comments in response to Dangerously Irrelevant's recent post on scripted curriculum.

In contrast, a spiral curriculum begins with the assumption that children are not always ready to learn something. Readiness to learn is at the core of a spiral curriculum. And instead of focusing for relatively long periods of time on some narrow topic whose time has come, a spiral curriculum tries to expose students to a wide varies of ideas over and over ago... A spiral curriculum, by moving in a circular pattern from topic to topic within field like, say, math, seeks to catch kids when they first become ready to learn something and pick up the other kids, the ones not ready to learn yet, later - the next time we spiral around to that topic.

This was one of the biggest transitions when I started using Open Court. Initially I was bothered by how objectives would appear once in a lesson and then not again for weeks, but as the year went on I came to see the benefits of the gradual "spiral" of skills. The students benefited from being exposed to the same objectives periodically: those who were not ready to master something on the first time around were exposed to the material again and again in different ways, and there was the opportunity to deepen the understanding of students who did catch it the first time. I'm curious to what extent the spiral curriculum model is used in other reading curriculum models besides the very prescribed/semi-scripted approach.

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