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The Process

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Ten questions that explain the process used to create this Curriculum.

  1. How long did the entire project take...from start to finish?

  2. How many people were involved?

  3. What was each phase of the project and how much time did each take?

  4. How did you decide, what the phases were going to be?

  5. What were the main barriers to the project?

  6. What would you do differently?

  7. What surprised you most about the project?

  8. What was the organizational structure of your team?

  9. What were your lessons learned?

  10. What is your advice to others if they begin a project like this?

 

1. How long did the entire project take...from start to finish?

Approx. 6 months

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2. How many people were involved?

Three

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3. What was each phase of the project and how much time did each take?

1.      Discussing how to frame and define project

2.      Working on lessons – writing, including outlining issues to be discussed, researching on Web.

3.      Editing, pulling it all together.

These 3 phases did not fall into completely distinct time frames, although step 2 took up the bulk of time

 

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4. How did you decide, what the phases were going to be?

The work seemed to define itself as we came together to share our perspectives, experience and visions for the project.

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5. What were the main barriers to the project?

Mary Ann:

Geographic – Carol and Sylvan live fairly close together but a long way from me.

Carol:

Our own busy schedules, heavy workloads, priorities.  But, because this material had been of interest to each of us for so long, and the fact that that we all had a good deal of experience, we always had a lot to bring to the table when we met.

 

Sylvia:

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6. What would you do differently?

Mary Ann:

Not sure. I think the process worked OK

Carol:

I’m not sure. I feel it was a luxury to work with Mary Ann and Sylvan, two people whose work and way of working I respect and appreciate.  

Sylvia:

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7. What surprised you most about the project?

Mary Ann:

Can’t think of anything.

Carol:

Perhaps the word “surprised” is not exactly accurate. I felt happily charged by sharing my experience and ideas in a small group where we had a clear mutual understanding of the issues and limits, as well as what each other was grappling with in terms of teasing out ideas into coherent lessons.

 

Sylvia:

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8. What was the organizational structure of your team?

Sylvan interfaced with Linda and Cathy on administrative issues, but the three of us were equal collaborators on all aspects of the project. E-mail once again proved a great resource and time saver, but our live meetings were both productive and a time of successfully recharging batteries. We each accepted responsibility toward the others in holding up our end to make the project successful.

 

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9. What were your lessons learned?

Mary Ann:

I think it was good that we were a small group. Since we only needed to do ten lessons, this was manageable.  When people live far apart with varying work schedules, in-person meetings are hard to do – but email has definite limitations with feedback and editing. This is much easier and faster if you are face to face.

Carol:

1.      Something I already know from working with students and asking them to do, but relearned in this context: when you have to explain something to another person, you’re forced to get a clearer understanding yourself. Another result of this dynamic is a sense of satisfaction.

2.      Failure is a great learning tool: it opens up the door to possibility.

Sylvia:

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10. What is your advice to others if they begin a project like this?

MaryAnn:

Try to agree on a format before you write the lessons, so that you don’t have to go back and change it all later. We had our basic format already, since we were following the one used for the Family Literacy Curriculum Guide that Sylvan and I had worked on.  However, as we worked through the project we found we needed to revise some of our initial ideas about how to organize the lessons. This is probably unavoidable, just part of the process in developing the ideas, but it does take extra time to make these changes later.

Check in often with each other and share, to be sure you are not duplicating each other.

Carol:

1.      Listen a lot. No matter how much you think you know, there’s always a lot you can learn.

2.      Structure follows essence and content, so don’t get bogged down in structural organization too early on. Let the ideas and worries come freely for a while.

3.      When you write curriculum, always keep students’ range of learning styles in mind and place yourself mentally as another student in your own classroom to imagine how you might feel doing what you’re asking of them.

 

Sylvia:

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