The goal of educators has always been to prepare students for success after graduation. While some lessons never go out of style, others require a remodel – or a bulldozing – as times continue to change.
How often does your school revisit course offerings?
We’ve surveyed the K-12 landscape and curated a mini course catalog of required and elective courses for curriculum directors to consider. Each of these classes can help prepare students for 21st century success in one way or another.
Modern Communications: Communication in the digital age requires a special set of skills. This class will explore such underrepresented topics as digital citizenship, professional social media management, and personal branding. Students will discuss the contrast between different communication styles, from verbal to virtual, and delve into proper etiquette for each.
Financial Life Skills: This course will help students prepare for life after graduation. It will cover a wide range of topics, including being a smart consumer, budgeting, investing, paying taxes, establishing credit, and taking out loans. Students will learn vehicle and home maintenance skills and identify which resources or services should be tapped for a given problem.
Computer Science: By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs, but universities are on track to educate enough students to fill less than one-third of them. This class will introduce students to the basics of computer coding, the process programmers use to make computer software work. Students will design software, write the code to create it, then test and improve their products. The class will meet with professional programmers and learn what it’s like working in this growing field.
Today’s Small World: Our modern world is more connected than ever before. This class will help students take a global perspective and gain a greater appreciation for the opportunities they have. In addition to learning about different cultures, students will study the worldwide effects of economics, politics, sports, and entertainment. They will learn about global organizations such as the United Nations and take a look at current events affecting countries around the world.
Explore Your Passion: This class is all about bringing the joy back into learning, encouraging students to pursue what interests them, and filling the “skills gap” between education and the real world. Students will choose their own focus from a sandbox of possibilities (much like they do when working in a makerspace) and write their own curricula. Each week, students will turn in progress reports. The final week of the semester, they will present their projects and findings to the class. Students could explore a career interest, study music or theater, build a robot, get involved in a political campaign… The options are limitless. There are colleges offering "design your own major" programs – why can't we do the same in K-12?
CSI: CSI has come to the classroom! Students will learn to survey and reconstruct crime scenes. They will study DNA, finger printing, and examining blood and salivary evidence. They will meet with police department officers, who will introduce them to the tools and practices used to solve crimes. Students will also get a chance to meet the K-9 unit. This course will introduce students to some of the latest scientific developments and will help them develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.
The Art and Science of Coaching: This course will study the wide range of responsibilities placed on the shoulders of coaches – from motivation and play calling to tryouts, facility management, and fundraising. Students will travel to local sporting facilities to meet with and learn from experienced coaches. The class is sure to be a home run for the high school athlete, but the skills acquired will help prepare students for any leadership position.
Survivor: Today’s students are tech- and device-savvy. They have access to more information than any other generation, but could they survive with nothing but the basics? This nontraditional course will teach students to build and start a fire, create a shelter, determine cardinal directions, and collect and purify water. It will cover basic trapping, hunting, and fishing practices, as well as how to differentiate between edible and poisonous plants. When students complete the course, they will be certified in basic first aid and CPR. Sometimes, to best prepare well-rounded students for an unknown future, you’ve got to get back to teaching the basics.
As we head into the home stretch of this school year, we hope you'll take a look at your course catalog and make adjustments to reflect the times. As the world changes, so must the way we prepare our students. Continuous curricular evolution can help produce inventive, prepared, and informed citizens.
To learn how Skyward can help you manage your curriculum, learn more here or contact us today.
Check out these recent articles!