Strategizing Your Sequence: Curriculum Design Part 1 [Episode 80]


Click below to hear about how to strategize your sequence:

You asked for it so I’m going to give you what you want! One of the most frequent requests I get is for my curriculum design process. What better time to break down my process for you than during our Summer Podcast PD!? We are kicking off our curriculum design series by starting with the absolute first thing you need to do when designing a curriculum to use in your classroom. 

Whether you are trying to figure out what to teach in a prep you have nothing for or you have curricula for all your preps, you are going to walk away from this series knowing how to write a curriculum for you to use in your own classroom because I am breaking down my process step-by-step. 

In this episode, I am sharing what this series is and what it is not, how to best use this series to achieve your goals, the importance of strategizing your sequence, and what action steps you can take today to get started creating your own curriculum. 

Not sure how to strategize your sequence? Think through these 10 questions:

  1. What overall themes do I want to thread throughout my entire course?
  2. What are the hardest topics traditionally for students?
  3. What are the hardest times of the year you typically experience for yourself?
  4. Does it make more sense to go from macro to micro? Or micro to macro?
  5. Are there any units that HAVE to be taught in a certain sequence?
  6. Are there any units (or concepts within units) that might make more sense taught in a different order?
  7. What units best lend themselves to spring weather and getting students outside?
  8. What units naturally have some fun projects in them that would be great for ending the year with?
  9. Which unit in my course BEST ties all the other units together?
  10.  Is the sequence I have been using really effective or are there changes I could make to improve it?

Don’t miss a single episode of this mini series inside of the summer Podcast PD! Subscribe to the Secondary Science Simplified podcast wherever you listen to podcasts to get the incredible info in the weekly episodes and BONUS Curriculum Design episodes that’ll be released on Thursdays for the month of July. If you have a teacher friend who you think would love this mini-series, share the Podcast PD with them and work through it together!

Topics Discussed:

  • What you can expect from the Curriculum Design mini-series
  • How to best use this mini-series to help you achieve your goals
  • The 10 questions to ask yourself when strategizing your sequence 
  • Examples of how I do these things inside the It’s Not Rocket Science curricula

Resources Mentioned:

Related Episodes and Blog Posts:

Connect with Rebecca:

More about Secondary Science Simplified: 

Secondary Science Simplified is a podcast specifically for high school science teachers that will help you to engage your students AND simplify your life as a secondary science educator. Each week Rebecca, from It’s Not Rocket Science, and her guests will share practical and easy-to-implement strategies for decreasing your workload so that you can stop working overtime and start focusing your energy doing what you love – actually teaching!

Teaching doesn’t have to be rocket science, and you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to simplify your secondary science teaching life so that you can enjoy your life outside of school even more. Head to itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/challenge to grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge.

You’re listening to episode number 80 of the secondary science simplified podcast. Last week, we covered four ways to use your summer. Well, if you missed Episode 79, go back and give it a listen because it might be a little different than you anticipate. In that episode, I really encourage y’all to just pick one way to serve future you next school year. I do not want you spending your entire summer and your precious time off working. I just want you to pick one thing and do that one thing really well. And one thing you may want to focus on this summer is curriculum design. One of my most frequent requests from y’all in my inbox all the time, is to hear more about my curriculum design process. And so over the next month, I’m going to walk you through exactly that. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in. This is secondary science simplified a podcast for secondary science teachers who want to engage their students and simplify their lives. I’m Rebecca joiner from it’s not rocket science. As a high school science teacher turned curriculum writer, I am passionate about helping other science teachers love their jobs, serve their students, and do it all in only 40 hours a week. Are you ready to rock the time spent in your classroom and actually have a life outside of it? You are in the right place teacher friend. Let’s get to today’s episode.

All right, we are now entering a mini series within the greater series of our summer podcast PD party. And that is our little mini series over the course of the month of July all about curriculum design. The goal for this mini series is that at the end of July, you will have knocked out writing a curriculum for one of your entire preps. Okay, so I first want to clarify what this series is going to be for and what it’s not going to be for just to manage expectations right off the bat. So this series is going to be for teaching you how to write or curate a curriculum for a prep, you don’t have anything for and I say write or curate because you are a teacher. That does not mean you are a curriculum writer. And that is okay. I think oftentimes, we think teacher and curriculum writer are synonymous. And they are really two entirely different roles, you can be an excellent teacher, and not an excellent curriculum writer, and that’s 100%. Okay, some of you, though, are going to have a more natural inclination to writing curriculum straight up from scratch. That’s great. I’m the same, I love it. Obviously, this is now like my new kind of path. And life is writing curriculum, and I love it. But for others of you, this is going to look more like designing your curriculum is gonna look more like curating a curriculum, pulling different pieces together from different sources to use in your classroom with your students. So what we’re going to do is over the next five weeks, we are going to cover five parts of the process of design, I’ve divided my overall process into five pieces. And so we’re going to eat this, like you would eat an elephant, we’re going to bite it off one bite at a time. And so what you’re going to see is every Monday, in the month of July, we’ll have an episode where we’ll kind of go over a part of the process. And then on Thursday, we’re actually gonna have a double episode each week, the month of July, Thursday is going to just kind of be an extra supportive episode, you know, if you’re kind of taking the action steps from the Monday episodes, but you kind of need a little bit more support, maybe more examples, more context, that Thursday episode is going to support you there in that. Now, I want to be clear what this is not. This series is not going to give you the what, okay, if you’re like looking, listen this series and have every single thing done for you. That’s not what this is going to be about. If you want readymade already done for you, curricula. I have that for you for biology, physical science, anatomy and chemistry, which is coming soon. So if that’s something you want, you can check the links in the show notes. Instead, I’m gonna be teaching you how so many of you have been incredibly supportive of it’s not rocket science resources over the years. And you know, you’re always asking for what the next curriculum will be. And each curriculum takes me over a year to write and then I usually need like a year to recover and work on smaller projects before I’m even ready to kind of think about maybe writing another one. So I know that that pace doesn’t work for a lot of you because you teach a lot of other subjects than what I have curriculum for. And so you’ve asked kind of, you know, how can I write something that kind of models your process do you use for my other preps, and so I’m doing this series for you to serve you and so I hope it helps. I will say to you, I am not going to teach you how to write curriculum for commercial use. So everything I’m sharing with you is just so you can use it with you Are students in your classroom, this is not going to be kosher for taking this process and then creating a curriculum to sell, there’s so much more that goes into that. So there’s, I mean, I’m not even going to get into all of like the different legal things and copyright issues and warnings and all of that. You don’t need to worry about it. If you’re just curating and designing curriculum for you and your students, you just need to worry about it. If you’re going to try to take this and then run with this and sell it, it’s a whole different ballgame. And that’s not what this is about. And that’s not who this is going to serve. So I just want to make that clear. If you’re like, sweet, I’m going to learn how to do this. And then start my own, you know, resource shop, you need to go find like someone who coaches, teacher printers, because that is not me. I’m here just for you, teachers and trying to serve you where you are. Okay, so here’s how to best use this series to achieve your goals. And then we’re going to dive into Part One. So I think the best way to use this series over the next few weeks is to pick a prep that you have nothing for, maybe you just found out you’re teaching forensics for the first time, you know, this would be a great prep to focus on. Or if you’re like, I’m not teaching anything new, pick the subject where you’re like, I have the worst curriculum for this, or I just don’t like this, like I really don’t enjoy teaching this, I think that is going to be the best choice for you. Because what we’re going to do is we’re going to walk through this process of making your curriculum, whether it’s non existent, or it exists, but you don’t like it, we’re going to make it cohesive, aligned, creative. And most of all, we’re going to make it effective, because that’s what isn’t rocket science curriculum is it’s all of those things, I’m going to teach you how to do that in your own classroom. So I recommend listening to each episode on Monday when it comes out. So if you aren’t already following the podcast, I would do that wherever you like to listen to podcasts. That way, it’ll automatically pop up in your player every Monday morning, because at the end of each episode is going to be really specific action steps for you to take. And you’re going to want some time to do that. Where should you literally before the Thursday episode, because then on Thursday, we’ll have this extra episode each week. And it’s really going to help those of you who feel stuck, or just kind of need further motivation, or who kind of have gotten started and kind of want to give a second glance, another round of edits, or what you’ve done so far. So if you kind of keep with that pace, it’s going to keep you going so that you can complete this by the end of July in a really manageable chunks. All right, so let’s do part one of my curriculum design process, and that is strategize your sequence, I want you to think about your scope and sequence strategically. Okay, I think one of the pitfalls we often fall in as teachers, is we were so overwhelmed because we have so much on our plates. And so what happens is, we end up just making one lesson plan at a time, or maybe one week of lesson plans at a time or, you know, if you’re really feeling on your game, you’re doing a unit at a time. But even still, when you are working in that method, you’re not really thinking about your curriculum and your year as a whole. And I know I and again, this is not a shot at you. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it, literally when I was teaching AP Bio, and it was thrown on as my fifth prep. And I taught it for the first time, I was lucky to be like a week ahead and knowing what we were doing. So I get it. But so much of why I feel it’s not rocket science resources and curricula have been so impactful for so many teachers is because of the holistic approach I’ve taken in writing them of starting at the beginning, like even before I started this chemistry curriculum I’ve currently worked on, I did research for almost nine months and studied. And I really, really thought really deeply about the whole curriculum and what I wanted it to look like. Now, I’m not expecting you to spend nine months on this, because again, you’re making this for your students. So it doesn’t need to be perfect or completely polished or professional. You need to write this to serve your students, whereas I’m writing curriculum to try to serve as many teachers and as many students as possible. So I got to think a little bit harder on how I approach that. But you get to just think about what’s best for you and your students. And so the way that I want you to strategize your sequence and to really think about it strategically means by thinking through 10 questions. These are 10 questions that I kind of thought through when I was writing curriculum for myself personally. And then they’ve evolved as I’ve done this, as I’ve written curriculum for others, but this is what I want you to think through. Okay, I want you to think through first, what are the overall themes that I want to thread throughout my entire course. Okay, overarching themes. This is really, really helpful to establish before you start curating or designing a curriculum, because then everything kind of falls under this umbrella and you’re always tying things back to these themes. For example, in my ASR archetype, anatomy curriculum, two of my main themes are form dictates function. Every time I’m teaching a structure I’m teaching Anatomy is something where tying it back into the function to the physiology of something, the way that something’s designed impacts how it actually works, it makes sense. There’s a lot of rationality to how the body is designed and how it works together. Which leads me to my next theme, which is a big overarching theme of my anatomy curriculum is big picture, how do all of these parts of the body, and all these systems work together as one unit to maintain homeostasis? So every time we’re learning a new body system, pretty much every end of unit assessment comes back to a question. That’s okay. So now tie that into the other systems we’ve learned so far, what are three ways that they work together to maintain homeostasis, or to establish this stability, you know, it’s always bringing it all back together and tying it in. It’s why I really don’t even like to test on the systems individually, I test on them in chunks, I have more like unit chunks, you know, I have my protection unit, which is the integumentary system, the lymphatic system, and the immune system, because I want students to kind of learn all of those things together. And really with anatomy, you could chunk up the systems so many different ways, because again, they all work together. I meant that to be a short example, got off on a tangent because I, I said I have such a fun time with this part of the process, really thinking big picture, what will make the most sense, I want you to ask yourself, what are the overall themes I want for my course and for my prep? Okay, the second thing I want you to ask yourself, and this will be especially easy if you’ve taught the class before? If not, I’m going to help you don’t worry. But as ask yourself, what are the hardest topics traditionally, for students in this prepper in this subject? And I want you to think then, what are some easier topics that I can maybe pair together to make this a little bit less overwhelming and a little bit easier for students to learn? Okay, so for example, in my isn’t rocket science biology curriculum, students struggle with cellular energetics with those biochemical reactions with photosynthesis and cellular respiration, they always struggle with it. So instead of teaching those in isolation, or teaching those in a biochemistry unit, alongside macromolecules, and just making like all of the hard topics, all in one, which so many teachers, I find do, I’ve paired them with an easier topic, food webs and trophic pyramids, so many students remember those from elementary middle school science. We bring them back in, though in our ecological studies in biology. And so instead of teaching it alongside ecology, where there’s so many other familiar topics for students, I bring it back in when we teach energetics and they learn all of that alongside each other, they learn the micro level and the macro level together. And so I want you to think about that, what are the hardest topics traditionally, for students? Okay, now, if you’re not sure of this, and really, for any of these questions, if you’re like, I don’t know the answers, because this is a brand new prep for me, I know nothing. I really recommend posting this question in a teacher Facebook group. Now, I’ve said before, you got to be careful with some of these groups, because it can feel overwhelming. A lot of people in the Facebook groups have been teaching these subjects for, you know, 510 1520 years. So they’re going above and beyond what you need to do, I found especially intimidated. I was especially intimidated in the national AP Bio teacher Facebook group, because people were doing these things. And I felt so behind and I felt so ill equipped, I did not feel like I was smart enough to teach this course, okay, from being in that group. So I do want to give you a warning on that. But I do think they are also great resources, especially if you’re in a small school or a small district. And you don’t have other people who teach your subject that you can connect to and ask these questions of, but you can ask, say, Hey, I’m going to be new teaching forensics this year. What are the subjects or the topics or the concepts that students tend to struggle with the most? What are the ones they tend to find the easiest and kind of pull the people there? This is something I did when I started researching for my chemistry curriculum, I sent out a survey just to my email list. And I got such great feedback. So I really encourage you to ask this question, especially if you don’t already know the answer. And think about that when you’re thinking about your sequence. What hard topics can I pair with easier ones? Okay, the third question I want you to ask is, what are the hardest times of year for me personally, as a teacher, okay, so this could be based on seasons with your family like all of your kids play fall sports, so falls are really hard time because every day after school, you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off going to 20 practices in games, okay, or for me personally, January has always been a hard time I feel like I get so unplugged over winter break. Coming back from the holidays and putting away the twinkly lights you know kind of makes me a little bit emo. Also in my husband’s previous job, he used to have to travel for you know, usually three to four weeks of January almost the entire month. He was traveling doing some training for his job. So then I was alone, and so I felt a little lonelier, then it was just a harder month for me so January was hard personal Lee, but think about you think about your family and your people, when is the hardest month for you or time of year for you? And maybe think about what are some ways that I can rearrange my sequence teach some fun topics in that place. So for example, in biology, I teach heredity in January, when we get back from winter break, I specifically time my sequence that way, because heredity is one of my favorite subjects. And I find it’s just I get excited to come back and teach it. And so that makes the most sense strategically for me, again, remember, you’re doing this for you and your students, you don’t need to think about what’s best for every teacher everywhere, you get to make those decisions for yourself. So really think about this personally. Now, fourth question I want to ask you, in general, it often is good to think about does this content make the most sense moving from a macro level to a micro, or moving from a micro out towards a macro? And that’s something you just kind of need to think about? It isn’t always again, this cut and dry in general, in biology, I go micro to macro and kind of build outwards. But like I said, it’s not that linear. Again, in my third unit, when I’m teaching photosynthesis and respiration, that’s when I bring in traffic pyramids and food webs, which is a very macro thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But do you kind of think does it make sense to go one way versus the other? Again, if you don’t know the answer, pull some people who have taught this subject a lot longer than you and see what they say. Question number five, are there any units that have to be taught in a certain sequence, because that will obviously dictate your sequence a lot. I think sometimes though, we like get married to a sequence because that’s how it’s always been, or that’s how the chapters go in order in the textbook. But it doesn’t actually have to be that way. This is where you do need to think about though with this question, are there things that like, you do have to teach them in a certain order? Okay. So, for example, in my physical science curriculum, I have to teach in my mind motion and force, prior teaching energy, because we’re not going to be able to do kinetic energy calculations and Momentum calculations, and even force calculations unless they have understood velocity and acceleration and those kinds of things that we do in motion. So those are things that I make sure to teach first, before and teach the law of gravitation before we get into a lot of this and energy. So think through that. Those are some questions to consider. Question number six, are there any units or maybe just concepts within those units, that might make more sense taught in a different order. So again, think about the order that you’re accustomed to, or maybe the order that you’ve been told, when you got your new practice how it’s always been done, or the order of the textbook given to you? Does it make the most sense that way? Or has this just kind of always been how it’s always been really thinking about, maybe we should kind of move things around. For example, as I’m writing this chemistry curriculum, I’m really trying to tie in macro to the micro as much as possible. Chemistry is such an abstract science, it’s really hard for students to really visualize even though everything they see all the phenomena, they witness on a macro level, can be explained on a micro level with the chemistry, it’s just a lot harder for them. It’s not as big picture hands on, I can put my finger on this, like a class like biology or physics. And then the other thing that makes chemistry really tricky. Not only is it abstract, it’s also a quantitative science, it has a lot of math in it that’s really complicated for students. So I’m trying to bring in the big picture to the small picture as much as possible. That’s why I’m teaching nuclear chemistry. Alongside atomic structure. I’m teaching intermolecular forces alongside intra molecular forces or chemical bonds, I want them to see how how these things are held together on a chemical bond level with in the molecule, how that influences their intermolecular forces between different molecules. And then that how that creates these properties that we actually see in these compounds. So I’m trying to pair the macro with the micro. Again, I’m not saying this is best for you. But this is what I found is best for me. And from my research. So these are the questions I want you to ask yourself. Okay, number seven, I want you to ask yourself, what units best lend themselves to spring weather and getting students outside? I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. And this isn’t like the most important question, these 10 I would say this is probably the least important especially for those of you who, you know, kind of have harsh weather all year round. But if you live somewhere like I do, where we get some really really mild springs and even like, mild falls. I really just like to think, Okay, are there certain units where we can do some things outside again, if you’re teaching, you know, there’s certain preps you might be teaching or this like doesn’t matter. But like if you’re teaching a biology or if you’re teaching even like a physics and there’s some demos and cool things you can do outside. You might want to be strategic about what units you put when so that you can do those things outside in my biology curriculum. I like to say the ecology for the end of the year because we do a lot of our outdoor things in ecology, students make a lot of observations about the ecosystem that they live in. With physical science, I do motion and force at the beginning of the year because I have this lab where students go outside and they run on the football field and they collect data. And that’s really fun to do in the fall, because it’s so pretty mild, where I live. And again, the football field is all painted up for Friday night football games. Whereas in the spring, the football field becomes a soccer field, where I live, and then we can’t do the lab and use the 10 yard markers like we do in football. So these are things I’ve been strategic about. So maybe ask yourself, are there certain topics or certain activities I’ve always wanted to do, but the weather hasn’t been well suited for it and try to consider the weather as you do that. Okay, three more, thanks for hanging in with me, I feel like this is one of those things where I was like, I’m gonna make this so short and manageable. And then as I get going, I get so excited. And I give you more than you probably bargained for. So hang in there with me. Good news is this week, this is June when this is airing. So there won’t be a double episode this week. So you have all this week to digest this next week, we’ll dive into double episodes. Okay. All right. So last three questions for you, I want you to ask yourself, what units naturally have some fun projects in them, that would be great for ending the year with. Again, this is something I just like, I like doing projects at the end of the year, I feel like by the end of the year, my classroom management is really down, I have a great rapport with students. And I feel like I can trust students enough to really work autonomously towards the end of the year more so than at the beginning of the year, especially when I’ve taught lower level grades. And so I like to save more of these open ended independent projects for the end of the year. And so I like to be strategic about what units would be at the end of the year where they would do these things. So in biology, I have an ecosystem in a bottle investigation. And then I have this human impact project. And again, I like to do these at the end of the year, students feel the most ready for them from just like a management perspective, or behavioral perspective to an independence, they’re more ready for these at the end of the year. And the other thing I will say too, which I hate to even say this, but just from a practical standpoint, if you kind of save these projects for the end of the year, and then you start running behind, you can cut these projects out and then regained some time. So I like to build in time at the end of the year for these projects that will take a week or so, or my ecosystem. And a bottle is really like a month long thing. It’s only a little bit every day. I like to save these though, because then worst case scenario where I live, we have hurricanes, we’ve had years were out of school for two or three weeks because of flooding from hurricanes, okay, but then if I need to regain that time, at the end of the year, because I’ve saved in some space for projects, it’s a lot easier to cut out. So I like to think about that when I’m considering my sequence. Number nine, I also want you to ask yourself, which unit in my coarser prep, kind of best ties all the other units together. And then I would urge you to maybe consider making this your starting unit or making it your ending unit, I think you can kind of do it either way, and it can be successful. So maybe you’re going to start off with this and this is going to set the stage and then everything else is you’re gonna refer back to it the whole entire year, or the opposite, maybe you’re going to put something at the end of the year. And then you’re going to kind of use that to kind of wrap up and review every other topic that you’ve done. In my anatomy curriculum. I love to do this with reproduction. I think reproduction is great to end the year with because it’s kind of a salacious topic, and the students have a lot of questions. It’s also kind of a spicy topic. And I like to have developed relationships with students, when I start talking about genitalia within just feels like it goes over a lot easier. It also really grabs their attention, because it’s kind of a intriguing way to end the year. But most of all, circling back to this question. I like it because it’s really cool. At this point, they’ve learned all their their body systems. And so then as we’re talking about how a fetus develops in the womb, you can talk about how each of the systems are developed, and then how the fetus starts using these systems in the womb versus how they kind of utilize the mother’s body systems. It’s really, really fascinating. And you can get into a lot of interesting discussions there. So I love to use it to wrap up the year. Whereas when I taught AP Bio, I actually use evolution at the beginning of the year. In my biology, one class, I use it at the end, kind of wrap things up in AP values. At the beginning, they’d already kind of had the basics for biology one, but I kind of switched it up and said let’s start with evolution. And then let’s tie everything back to it. So I think it can go either way. But really think about the most unifying unit you have and choose whether or not at best first or last. Okay, in speaking of last, we made it to our 10th And final question. And so the last thing I want you consider is just overall is the sequence I’ve been using. If you’ve taught this before, really effective, or are there changes I can make to improve it. I just think so often we settle for what’s always been done. But if you think through the previous nine questions, there might be a better way. Okay, now, I know you’re already thinking but I co teach Rebecca like I’m one of for biology teachers, or whatever, I want to ask you, could you meet with your coworkers this summer? And discuss changing the sequence now for next year? Okay? Could you be like, Hey, let’s all meet for lunch, it’s all meet for coffee? Could you send them this podcast episode? Have them listen to it, and then let’s all discuss it and just think about it. You know, you’re not saying, Let’s make drastic changes, you’re just saying, Hey, these are 10 questions I’ve been thinking of, you want to talk through them and see if there’s something we could do better? Now, another thing you might be saying is, well, what if we have a district mandated sequence, Rebecca and a pacing guide, and we have to keep it like, I know, that’s the case. For some of you, especially those of you in big districts, you know, you got 1415 high schools, sometimes as larger districts, they really mandate the pacing guides, because you have a lot of students that are transient and switching schools a lot. And so your district is trying to make it as seamless as possible for those students. Okay, I get that. My first question would be, how mandate is mandated? Like, is this a strong suggestion, or an actual requirement? If this is something where you have like interdistrict, mid year transfers, so they want every, you know, school on this 50 minute class period, you know, so that way, it’s pretty similar? That makes sense. I get that. Whereas others, like districts say things are mandated, but then they have some schools on block federal and some aren’t. So like, it doesn’t really make sense. Why would necessarily be mandated. So just reach out to your admin, reach out to your instructional coach and find out if you’re not sure, if you don’t have a co worker, to kind of ask the see how required this is, and bring your rationale, don’t just go to them Be like, I want to make all these changes? Can I do it, like, explain to them, you know, hey, this is the topic students really struggle the most with, I want to pair it with this topic, can I rearrange how I do this, or I think the students will learn this so much better if I can put this this unit at the end. And everything kind of culminates here and kind of just give them the rationale and just kind of go from there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and give a little bit of pushback. Because again, oftentimes, things are just status quo, and no one’s really thought about it, or whoever came up with the sequence, or whoever’s over your instruction, curriculum and instruction for the district. They may not even be a science teacher, they may not even even thought of this, they have no clue. They just kind of been plugging and chugging what they found in the resources they found. So no one’s ever pushed back before. So I think you can do that with gentleness and grace and humility and just kind of see what happens. And again, if this is a new prep, and you have no idea what you’re doing, I really urge you to reach out and get opinions from other teachers. And if you don’t have a pool of teachers to ask, posted some of those teacher Facebook groups, if you literally just search like National fill in the blank of the subject, teacher group, you’re going to find one for pretty much every subject. Okay, and look for opinions in there. I really find it interesting. I like to get opinions from veterans. So people who have been teaching something for 1520 years, because they’ve they have the largest sample size of students like they’re going to really know overall, over all this time, pre pandemic mid pandemic post pandemic, what students have struggled the most with. But I also find it helpful to get opinions from newer teachers too, because they tend to have more energy and a greater willingness to try something new. So look, kind of for both perspectives as you are in there. Alright, so let’s wrap this up with an action step. As always, what do I want you to do between now and next week’s episode, I want you to do some strategic sequencing, I’m not asking you to write an entire pacing guide for the course that you’ve picked, okay? I don’t want you to do that. Here’s what I do want you to do, I want you to get a whiteboard, or get a piece of paper, write your course name at the top, then write down 123 overarching themes that you want kind of everything to fall under the umbrella of, okay, this is a work in progress, so you can work with this. Then on sticky notes, I want you to list each of your typical unit titles, okay, you got your cells unit, your genetics unit, your evolution unit, whatever. And then underneath them just bolted points on that same sticky, I want you to put some of the concepts that you cover in each, okay, so in my genetics unit, I would put DNA structure replication, protein synthesis, meiosis done, okay, so make an arrow or make a sticky note for each unit, then move them around your paper, or better yet, if you’re on a whiteboard, move them around your whiteboard and kind of put them in the order that you teach them. Okay, and look at them then. And walk through these 10 questions I talked to you about really, if you’ve done the theme, and you’ve thought about changing making a change, that’s question one and 10. So really, you’re only looking at questions two through nine here. You can re listen to this episode, you can also just go to the show notes, which are it’s not rocket science classroom.com/episode 80. And they’re all going to be typed out there for you for a quick reference. Really ask yourself each of these questions and start moving things around with your sticky notes. I like it on a whiteboard, because then you can kind of draw arrows so maybe, maybe you’ve never taught meiosis in your genetics unit. Maybe you’ve always taught it alongside mitosis. So maybe you want to draw an arrow and say, what would it be like if I moved it over here? And start considering making some of the changes or again, you’re like I I am always slammed in November with holiday prep family coming in town. My kids playing fall sports and the culmination of that you’re like November is nutso. And so maybe you want to start considering what can I move around to make November assembler month for me in terms of what I’m teaching in this prep. So walk through those 10 questions, move things around physically draw arrows, make some notes about what you consider could consider to do differently, and then sit with it for a few days. And maybe just look back at it once or twice before next week’s episode when we jump into part two of this, okay, so again, your goal by next week is to not have a fully fleshed out scope and sequence pacing guide, like I’m teaching three weeks of this two weeks of this, whatever, that’s not the goal. The goal by next week is for you to just have a general skeleton sequence of the units you want to teach and the topics that you’re going to kind of cover in each and the order that it will be taught in and then all of those are going to fall under an umbrella of one to three overarching themes that you’ve thought through. Now, after next week’s episode, and we get into part two, you might want to edit these a bit. So don’t start making like binder covers and getting them printed at Staples or anything because you’ve already decided on all your unit. It’s okay, hang with me. Next week. We’ll dive into part two on Monday. And then Thursday, we’ll have our first double episode where we’ll kind of do even more support for the Monday topic. And we’ll kind of continue outlining and walking through this process. So I think it’s gonna be great. Again, all these questions are gonna be listed out in my show notes at It’s Rocket Science classroom.com/episode 80. And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any of these episodes, especially since we’re doing double ones in the upcoming month, be sure to follow the secondary science simplified podcasts wherever you listen.

Alright, teacher friends, that wraps up today’s episode. If you’re looking for an easy way to start simplifying your life as a secondary science teacher, head to It’s not rocket science classroom.com/challenge to grab your classroom reset challenge. And guess what? It’s totally free. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you here next week. Until then, I’ll be cheering you on teacher friend!

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