|Writing is horizontal ... except in maps.|
1) Why does the template have boxes labeled by the month?
My math classes are split into chapters/ units that have never corresponded to months all that well. The lengths of the months is different as well because of the random nature of vacations, exams, sporting events. We're in block scheduling so the second semester has a completely different pace than the first. Obviously, some variations are less disruptive than others but the month-by-month format seems to be the format that least well corresponds to the course. English classes don't think month by month either. Nor does pretty much anybody else. Why insist on it?
Then you have the long words that don't fit. Unless you teach math, "Prop ortio nal Reas" isn't that meaningful nor is "Probl ems and Linea."
Adding to the silliness is the repetition, as shown here. This teacher has broken the course down to the weekly level ... and repeated everything. Enlarge the image above ... by my count he pasted "Linea r Equa tions" 56 times.Why? Because he wasn't allowed to combine table cells. Legibility is sacrificed and some of the words don't even show up in the cells but we were able to keep the format.
Writing is horizontal. Except here, where six letter words are split with a single "r" on the next line and there's no thought of proper hyphenation. This is crazy. The formatting should not take higher precedence than the content.
2) Why does the Coordinator assume that the course changes significantly from year to year?
Maybe it varies in some classes, but the essence of the transcript is that we are awarding a credit for Algebra I. For that to mean anything, the Algebra I class needs to have some consistency from section to section and from year to year. If it doesn't, then something is wrong. The "C" in Algebra I means that the student has accomplished a certain amount of algebra with a certain amount of facility and thus can be admitted to Algebra II and placed appropriately.
Or you need to give a grade for "Individualized Mathematics" and be ready to explain it to anyone who needs to know. If you're a single tutor of a single home-schooled kid, then this is the rule. When you are dealing with a few thousand kids, however, each kid's transcript needs to be clear. When you are hiring a math teacher to teach Algebra I, you need to know what that entails.
3) Different formats would complicate things for parents.
This complaint is a weird one to me. Even if I thought a parent would read the curriculum map, certainly not a winning bet, I would expect that the parent would have a harder time with the terms and descriptions than with the organization. Labeling the top of the chart Sept, Oct, Nov gives less information than sections 1, 2, 3 and much less than "Polynomials", "Slopes and Lines", "Linear Functions".
A format that provided greater information is preferred here as well as one that doesn't force weird splits in short words: "Probl ems and Linea"
Remember that the original idea (in Jacobs, Heidi Hayes: Mapping the Big Picture ) was for the teachers to make the map so they could identify missing pieces and make the entire school curriculum into a coordinated whole.
If the course isn't taught month-by-month, why map it that way? The teachers are the audience. The point is to identify gaps ... months do not add to that information. Further, Common Core and other standards purposefully do not specify when a particular topic be addressed or how ... why examine it that way?
4) What kind of confusion could possibly arise - doesn't the curriculum coordinator know enough about the curriculum that she could interpret pretty much any format?
Unfortunately, no. If she is like ours, she only wants you to enter all of this data into an online database that she has paid a lot of money for (and needs to justify the expense). The online database was never designed to accommodate teachers and this is what you get.
But she gets to push a button and the database will scan through and determine whether you've addressed standard F-TF (Functions, Trigonometric Functions).
She couldn't just look herself because she's never taught math and has no idea what we put in the boxes.
5) Why does everything have to fit into one box even when different?
Here's the funniest thing (and we get to use this screaming gem of a program so the word "funniest" is coming through clenched teeth) ... Everything in the month goes in the same box, so you have extra lines put in so you can keep the resources for topic one aligned with the content, skills, and assessment for topic one. Add a few words to clarify one thing and you have to go back and adjust all the other columns ... which gets all messed up when the font size changes.
Like when a browser is set differently (full-screen vs. windowed) or when you print.
equally useless Word document you did three years ago) comes with 80KB of unbreakable hidden formatting? Yeah, it does. We spent so much time trying to make it look right, we finally broke down and re-typed every word. And every link to the "Standard" had to drill down through the entire document ...
No benefit to the students.
No mysterious "missing content" suddenly found.
Just five in-service days wasted changing from a Word document which was a printout from the last web company mapping system, itself a conversion from the excel spreadsheet which was a conversion from a word document which had been in wordperfect format fifteen years ago.
I still have the binder.