An Enchiridion of Syllabic Erudition

I’m currently working through my first semester of the online Master’s Program in Catholic School Leadership at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. The class that I’m about to finish is on Curriculum Design, Development & Assessment, with my current assignment set to to illustrate the major points of developing a Curriculum Map. To quote Chaucer from A Knight’s Tale (2001):  “And so, without further gilding of the lily, and with no more ado, I give to you …” A Curriculum Map’s Tale.

Act I: Prolegomenon

“Rather than starting a mapping initiative by abruptly declaring that ‘We are going to start curriculum mapping, folks,’ the leadership teams and district personnel [begin] by looking at the needs of their specific student population (Jacobs, 2004, pg. 1).”

The initial phase in curriculum mapping for any nation, district, school or classroom is taking stock of the current curriculum and the needs of the students who will be subjected to the new curriculum standards. This can include

  • researching what other schools in the area are doing
  • deciding what specific, measurable outcomes in student performance to strive for
  • deciding who will work on curriculum mapping [begun here, but focused on during Act II]
  • drafting an action plan
  • analyzing the educational background and general readiness of all staff members
  • deciding on the format for meetings and technology use to facilitate the planning process
  • setting a timeline for research, feedback, training, and implementation


Act II: A Sodality of Luminosity

Once a framework has been set for curriculum mapping, the next major step is deciding who will put in the necessary time to craft, revise and help implement the new curriculum plan that comes from the curriculum mapping process. This involves

  • assessing the educational background, training, formation, current work assignment and interest in curricular mapping of all personnel
  • assessing the available time commitment of interested and qualified personnel
  • researching and/or creating training, formation and professional development opportunities for assigned perssonel
  • assigning leadership roles from assigned personnel
  • formulating, with help of assigned personnel, possible objections to the curriculum mapping process
  • formulating, with help of assigned personnel, possible solutions to the objections


Act III: Asperous Interregnum

Once the leadership teams have been set, the time for the meat of the work is nigh – each group sifts through the current curriculum, looking at the essential questions for each subject and for each unit within that subject, working on crafting drafts of the curriculum, then getting those drafts sent out for massive amounts of peer review and editing. During this review/editing process, the teams are looking for

  • repetition of material from grade level to grade level
  • gaps in essential information (content, thinking processes, skills, and assessments) from grade level to grade level (Jacobs, 2004, pg. 155)
  • places where no change is needed
  • places where material is good, but can use updating
  • inclusion of local, state and/or federal standards
  • any changes needed to the document itself (vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, formatting, etc.)


Act IV: Consummate Execution

Once the new curricular map has been edited, revised, and generally run through the educational gauntlet, the time is ripe for the implementation of the new material. Once implemented, however, there should be a process in place for continual review and revision – resting on our laurels, even after years of work, is a recipe for eventual disaster, while putting in the effort to do periodic evaluations, even of starting the process over again, will ensure that the curricular mapping work already done is as relevant and up to date as possible.

Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III



Erickson, H. L. (2008). Stirring the head, heart, and soul: redefining curriculum, instruction, and concept-based learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Helgeland, B. (Writer), Helgeland, B. (Director), & Helgeland, B. (Producer). (n.d.). A knights tale [Video file].

Jacobs, H. H. (2004). Getting results with curriculum mapping. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J, (2004). Understanding by design: professional development workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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