Rethinking Middle Level Curriculum
"What I desire is an education process that is genuinely meaningful to students, challenging them with problems and ideas they find both interesting and intellectually demanding" (Eisner, 2003/2004, p. 8).
This series of posts is the culmination of nearly four years of in-depth learning and is the final project for my M.Ed. degree at the University of Alberta. I hope that my final project is, above all else, useful. These posts should be of interest to educators who want to learn more about the middle school philosophy, middle level curriculum and effective curriculum design. As I delved into the topic, I found limited Canadian resources. Therefore, I hope to provide a Canadian spin on the topic of middle level curriculum. My primary area of interest is curriculum integration and how it provides an opportunity to best meet the developmental needs of young adolescents aged 10-15. Specifically, this site will explore ways that teachers can get students to focus on essential questions (the "big" ideas behind existing curriculum.) The use of curriculum integration and its connections to backwards design (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998) will also be explored. To connect the topic to the Alberta curriculum, I have prepared a model that outlines how the current grade 8 curriculum could be reorganized around eight essential questions. You will find resources and ideas to promote connections between subjects - the outcome of my research and professional practice. Finally, I hope to provide a forum for teachers to discuss integrated projects and ideas that have worked successfully. I really hope that you find this site informative and useful.