Layered Units

I have been intrigued by the idea of layered curriculum but it is taking some time to get the hang of its principles. The examples I found are inspiring but seem messy and confusing for students. My first attempt at it was no better, and furthermore was less like the original structure and more like that of a multigenre project.

The thing is, I kind of like that. So I’ve been thinking about how to compromise between the Bloom’s style “layered curriculum” as it was created and the more multigenre, standard/objective meeting unit I envision. I would really love to have some feedback on how best to make this a reasonable task and not something that stresses kids out.

Connections – Write a paragraph showing how this text relates to a song, video, current event, other text, movie/tv show/play, or personal events, other (consult teacher).

Literary – Write a 1 page character analysis, essay on author’s purpose, essay analyzing appropriate literary technique from text, relevant editorial, other (consult teacher).

Create – Movie trailor, board game, modern script, parody, graphic novel chapter, other (consult teacher).

Ideally, this would be introduced at the beginning of a 5-6 week unit and students would have opportunities to work on it throughout. Minilessons relating to the tasks would be offered along the way, reading and vocabulary instruction would also function traditionally (whatever is typical for one’s classroom). Tech would be integrated as possible with accessibility considered; I made it optional for extra credit for my botched attempt at this though I would like to make it mandatory.

Students could develop contracts with the teacher to include the projects (one from each category) and tentative checkpoints. The teacher would have to be available for conferences on many occasions.

Am I on the right track or am I missing something critical? Please help! 🙂


One response to this post.

  1. I’m a math and science teacher so I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment in the particulars of your example, but I like the idea in general and am very interested in this discussion.

    I used the Layered Curriculum model in my MS science class for a couple years. I liked the way it empowered my students to take control of their learning; I liked the way it allowed all my students to feel successful by setting and meeting goals. I did not like the way it used grades as a motivating factor. My students were much more interested in whether they qualified for a particular grade level than in the quality of their work.

    I have begun wondering lately whether I can incorporate the LC elements of control and choice into my Math classroom but in a way that focussed more on the process, rather than the product.

    I like your three different themes. I’m unclear how they would look in the classroom? Does one lead into the next? How are you providing students choice? I used to make my lectures optional if they could get the information some other way.

    Sorry if I am rambling. It’s late at night my time. I look forward to hearing where you go with this.


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