How to Bring Content and Process Together in Your Teaching

Transitioning to Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: How to Bring Content and Process Together 
By H. Lynn Erickson and Lois A. Lanning
(Corwin, 2014 – Learn more)

sutton, jameyReviewed by Jamey Sutton

“Objectives must be measurable!”

“Look for what you want your students to be able to do.”

These are two statements often drilled into novice and pre-service teachers. While they are true, objectives alone don’t ensure understanding. In Transitioning to Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: How to Bring Content and Process Together, H. Lynn Erickson and Lois A. Lanning offer a guide for moving from the “measurable objective verbs” that routinely pepper curriculum outlines to the deeper meanings and connections (i.e., understanding) embedded in the content of our curriculum.

Transitioning-Erickson-cvrThis book provides the foundational information necessary for moving from the “I can” statements to deeper understanding of the subject matter. This bridge (developed in multiple books by Erickson) is called “concept-based learning” or “concept-based teaching.” Teachers, department heads, instructional coaches, curriculum specialists and school administrators all can benefit from the insight provided in this book. 

Bringing content and process together

As we shift into Common Core, the authors of this book provide a road map to connect our traditional objective-driven curriculum with the broader, deeper understanding-driven Common Core standards. These authors use KUDs (what we want students to KNOW, what we want students to UNDERSTAND, and what we want students to be able to DO) as a guide.

Read an interview with Lynn Erickson and Lois Lanning

This resource offers many examples and charts for making the transition to concept-based learning and instruction more attainable and explainable.  The ideas and sample unit plans are realistic in that they CAN be incorporated into a classroom without unrealistic expectations, planning, or preparation time. The authors talk about the “developing concept-based teacher” in recognition of the time it will take to make the shift and master a new way of approaching the instructional process.

This book could also be used in study groups as a means of substantiating a school-wide move from traditional to concept-based curriculum in the framework of the Common Core. Transitioning to Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction will definitely have a place on my professional reading bookshelf!

Jamey Sutton is a 7th grade Language Arts and Literature teacher at Northview Academy in Kodak, TN.  She has been teaching for 18 years and enjoys helping young people develop a love for literature and writing. She has an Ed. S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction, has been honored as Teacher of the Year at her school, and has been selected at her local Barnes and Noble as a Teacher of the Year.  She and her husband Scott have four boys and spend a lot of time helping them become successful in life.

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