Here we will outline best practices for developing your unit template within Chalk. The most important thing to know is that this should be an iterative process. It'll be important to get input from others and work with a template before starting to create whole maps with it. The steps we recommend you follow are:
1. Create your first template
2. Create a map and populate a unit. Be sure to involve others in this step!
3. Publish the unit and use it in Planboard to create a lesson (again, involving others)
NOTE: This step won't be possible if you only have Curriculum Base. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further clarification.
4. As a team, review how Steps 2 and 3 went, based on this discussion:
- If you determine changes should be made, update the template as appropriate using the guidance below and repeat Steps 2-4.
- If you are happy with the current template and feel it will allow you to accomplish your identified goals then you are ready to start creating curriculum maps using this template!
Developing a Unit Template
Within Chalk, unit templates consist of various fields. Each field allows you to create and manage information in a specific way. There are two main types of fields:
- Standards/Expectations Field: This tracks the standards associated with this unit and has the option to enable or disable Learning Targets.
- Text Field: This allows for rich text editing, Google file integration, attaching resources as well as standards.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Each unit template will always consist of ONE Standards/Expectations Field and ONE OR MORE Text Fields.
In developing your unit template you will make the following decisions:
- For my one Standards/Expectations Field, do I want to enable or disable Learning Objectives/Targets
- How many Text Fields do I want and for each one:
- What will be the title of the field
- Do I want to pre-populate it with any formatting/information
- In what order do I want my fields
Let's walk through each of these steps in detail.
Step 1: Enabling or Disabling Learning Objectives on the Standards Field
What is a Standards/Expectations Field?
A Standards Field allows for individual standards from Curriculum Sets to be applied to a unit of instruction. Once standards have been applied to a unit they will be shown as having been covered in Standards Coverage for that map. Learn more here
What are Learning Objectives/Targets?
Learning Objectives are a further breakdown of standards and can be used in many different ways. 'Learning Objectives' is the general title used by Chalk. If enabled, you can customize this title as you see fit. Here are some examples to help with deciding whether you want to enable Learning Objectives and what you might want to call them:
- Learning Targets: In this use case, they represent a further breakdown of a given standard into individual, focused "I can.." statements
- Mastery Level: In this use case, they represent a level of mastery for the associated standard, many times this use case leads to there always being the same number of 'Mastery Levels' associated to any given standard (ex: Mastery Level 1 to Mastery Level 4)
Click here to learn more about what it looks like to create these within Chalk.
Enabling Learning Objectives allows you to create and track these within your units. Not only will these exist in the unit but they can then be populated on both lessons and assessments.
Note: If you don't already have an identified need for Learning Objectives/Targets, we recommend leaving these disabled. It is very easy to enable down the road.
Step 2: Creating Text Fields
What is a Text Field?
A Text Field allows for rich text editing, attaching resources from your computer (ex: PDF, Presentations, Hand-outs, etc..) or attaching files through the Google Drive integration. It is also possible to attach standards to these which will automatically populate that unit's Standards Field.
A Text Field can be pre-populated with content so that any new units created will not require starting from scratch.
Naming a Text Field
Each Text Field will require a title which should accurately describe the content in that field. The title is what everyone will see when they look at the curriculum map. It's important that the title uses common language that everyone will understand so it's clear what the purpose of the field is.
Pre-populating a Text Field
By default, each Text Field will be empty when a new unit is created. If you enter content directly within the template this will pre-populate that field. This means that any new unit created within a Curriculum Map will start with this pre-populated content rather than starting completely blank.
Pre-populating content can be helpful to guide the structure of a given field. It's important that this pre-populated content is generic as it will be pre-populated for every new unit created in every map in your institution.
Here's an example of a pre-populated text field:
In most cases, the title of the text field should be more than sufficient in guiding what content is entered in that field. If, however, there is a specific structure you would like to see consistently it is recommended you pre-populate this in the template.
Step 3: Ordering your Fields
The order of your unit fields can help emphasize the flow of a unit. When writing a unit you may find it ideal to have a certain flow. On the other hand, when the unit is being used in the classroom to inform instruction it may make sense to adjust this flow. It's important to consider everyone who will be using the maps and understand that the order can impact how they will use it to meet their needs.
In addition to keeping in mind the audience, you'll also want to consider the pedagogical approach you're using. Understanding By Design, for example, has 3 stages which can help with deciding the order in which you want your unit fields.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:
- If I were writing a lesson using these resources, which field would I want to start with?
- Do the fields flow logically from one into the other?
- Considering our pedagogical approach, does the order emphasize the content we want people to focus on?
Now that you have an understanding of best practices, click here for Lesson 4: How to create and edit unit templates within Chalk.