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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

02.27.19 “Because, But, So” Goes 2.0 with Direct Quotations

  I had a great meeting yesterday with ace curriculum developer Jen Rugani to discuss lesson plans she’s been developing for our unit on Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In the course of the meeting, we developed a new application for one of our favorite developmental writing exercises. The exercise is called Because, But,…


01.23.19 What Books Are Included in Our Reading Reconsidered English Curriculum?

      As you may know, we’re writing an English curriculum, my team and I. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, it’s based on the reading of novels, challenging & demanding novels, at every grade level.  It’s flexible and modular–teachers and schools can select from a range of books.  It’s knowledge-building and writing intensive. It reinforces Close…


01.09.19 Sample Lessons For The Giver From Our Middle Level English Curriculum

    I’ve been blogging quite a bit this year about the English Curriculum my team is writing. I shared an overview of our goals and methods here. I shared some examples of how we’re approaching vocabulary here. I shared some examples of the ‘sensitivity analysis’ questions we use for Close Reading here. I reflected on…


05.04.18 We Are Writing a Language Arts Curriculum!

  This is kind of an exciting announcement. Maybe a scary one too. My team and I have decided to write a Language Arts (i.e. English) Curriculum.  We’re going to start with the middle grades (4-8) and expand from there. With a little luck we hope to have it ready for schools to use a year…


12.11.17 On Increasing ‘Positive Variance’ in Teaching and Curriculum

In their new book The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath describe a principle some high performing organizations use to grow successfully: “Reduce negative variance and increase positive variance.”  This idea is relevant in at least two aspects of running and improving schools. First, one of the strongest ways a school can make a difference…