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Heidi Jacobs

Heidi is the person behind the implementation of curriculum mapping and she has written numerous books and articles on Curriculum Mapping. Below is a brief summary of the book, Mapping the Big Picture:

Although teachers may work in the same building for years, they usually have slight knowledge about what goes on in each other's classrooms. In a similar way, there is little knowledge at one school level about what happens at other levels. This book presents a way for teachers to make maps as a way to communicate about curriculum development. Curriculum mapping amplifies the possibilities for long-range planning, short-term preparation, and clear communication. Procedures for curriculum mapping, which is based on the school calendar year, begin with collecting the data and move through several reviews to determining the points that can be revised immediately and those that will require long-term research and development. Curriculum review should be active and ongoing.

You can read the first two chapters from her book online. Here are some excerpts from the first chapter:
  • Though teachers may work together in the same building for years, they usually have sketchy knowledge about what goes on in each other's classrooms. High school teachers on the same corridor have no clue as to their colleagues' books, concepts, and assignments. A middle school team may work diligently on its specific program but have limited information about any other team in the building.
  • With so little real-time data available, we find two polarized tendencies. One is to become rigid and lock step with curriculum guides, giving the impression that all is under control. The second is to become so loose and vague that no one seems to have a clue as to what is going on.
  • With computers, it is now possible to register more complete information about content, skills, and performance assessment in real time. More significantly, the task now is to show student work as it actually happens in the classroom and in relation to state or district standards.
  • Now it is possible for teachers to easily complete maps, compile them, share them with colleagues, and communicate with educators in other buildings.

Schools are using curriculum templates that display key components of the curriculum: content, skills, assessments, and essential questions. Key to the approach is that each teacher enters what is actually taught in real-time during the school year, in contrast to having an outside or separate committee determine decisions.

The entries by teachers are not left alone, however; in fact, because the work is displayed via internet-based programs, it is open to view by all personnel in a school or district. This allows educators to view both K-12 and across grade levels and subjects what is transpiring in order to be informed and to revise their work.

Hayes-Jacobs: Curriculum mapping isn't actually new, but the maps weren't effective when they depended on paper and pencil blueprints of classroom lessons. Technology is central to this work as it enables teachers to create an organic document that all staff members have access to.