Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prioritization vs. Elimination

At a meeting yesterday, someone shared this idea with the group. We were discussing power standards and strategically choosing which standards to focus on in order to have the greatest impact in a classroom.

We have all heard it before. We have probably all thought it before. How do we fit all the content expected of us into one year? It got me thinking also about technology and its role in transforming our classrooms. How do we make time for it when we are busy preparing for high stakes tests and making sure our students don't get "left behind"?

I often hear teachers talk about what to eliminate from their day to make time for new initiatives or new curricula. I think it is helpful for me to think about it in terms of prioritizing instead of eliminating. What are the MOST IMPORTANT skills your students need to learn? What are the skills that are taught because "we've always taught it"? What skills might benefit your students across all curricular areas? What skills might come in handy no matter what your students decide to do in their future, even if they change jobs many times throughout their lives?

I am interested to hear from you about this. What did you place at the top of the priority list? What fell to the bottom?


  1. What are the skills that are taught because “we’ve always taught it”?

    When I read this, the first thing that popped into my head was cursive writing. Sure, it might improve penmanship (though even that is questionable), is it really needed in a digital world?

  2. I can't disagree, KW. I have heard people argue that we need to teach it so students can READ cursive. Of course, we can use cursive fonts for that.

    I also was referring to the fact that we often focus on teaching facts. I think we need to focus more on how to find information, interpret information, and synthesize that information into new thoughts. As information grows, it is becoming harder and harder to teach the amount of content that is out there. Instead, we need to teach kids how to find what they need.