Saturday, November 22, 2014

School Counseling Lessons - Importance of Curriculum Mapping

     An excitement begins.  Students have shared a topic with you that they feel is important to know. Your creative thought process begins and you identify a lesson.  What a great topic, you may think, and so the organization of the topic delivery, activity, and plans develop.  When done, you ask a teacher to let you into their class.  After reviewing their calendar, you get an opening and off you go.  The students have fun, you enjoy adding the lesson to your portfolio as a school counselor and you can check off that you covered an important topic that students brought to your attention.

     Reactive lessons are always "dangerous" for the school counseling profession.  Why?  It is a lesson for the moment because a few students may have brought the idea to your attention.  How does it connect to the comprehensive school counseling program, the counseling mission, as well as the school's overall vision?  In simple terms, and what I state all the time, "SO WHAT?"

     Rewind.......let's take one step at a time to understand what I mean about connected lessons vs. reactive lessons.  Connected lessons have a purpose and have been carefully developed to align to the professional standards of school counseling, the comprehensive school counseling program foundation, and the school's vision.  When mapped out, it allows teachers to see the lesson, topic, activity and relate to a possible topic they are delivering, bringing a collaborative approach to school counseling core curriculum!

     Here are a couple of guiding questions when developing a lesson:
         1) How do you know it is a needed topic?
         2) Did the topic come from an initial need assessment to students, teachers and parents?
         3) What is the essential question being addressed? (National Standards of School Counseling - select a standard)
         4) What are the skills that students will learn as a result of the lesson? (Selected Standard Competency)
         5) What content will students get to know as a result of the lesson? (Selected Standard Competency Indicator)

     I have drafted a table that shows the above mapping.  Yes, initially you may think it takes a long time to put together.  Actually, it is quite simple.  Using, the lesson creator tool quickly does the drop down answering each of the questions above.

I am providing you with a visual of a table I created to assist me in mapping the lessons.


Goals for each unit…….What do we want kids to:

Essential Questions
Skills (Do)
Content (Know)
Career Cluster Inventory
What is the relationship between student interests and careers?
Discussing importance interest inventory results.
Utilizing online resources to research career

Programs and majors related to careers

Completion of career cluster on Naviance.
Learning Styles Inventory
What is the relationship between learning style and academic success?

Utilizing inventory results to obtaining learning preferences.

Review results to understand how to be successful academically.
Using study strategies based on learning style.

Self-reflection of learning style habits.
Completion of learning style inventory.

Academic improvement based on knowledge and utilization of techniques geared toward learning style.

     Once you have this all written out either on School Counselor Central or a simple table, then it is important to showcase the curriculum map to your administrators, teachers and community.  This allows for everyone to know the important topics being presented, as well as support the ongoing learning for students on academic, social/emotional or career/college skills.


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