Helpful Hints


[curriculum voice]

  • Generate a WHY STATEMENT to capture curriculum mapping vision.
  • Allow for ALL to be heard and plan consistent voice outlets throughout mapping process.
  • Talk, talk, and keep talking about curriculum!
  • Plan time to share mapping thoughts and a-ha moments.

[mapping process]

  • Take it slowly!
  • Learn the mapping process within ONE course of study; don’t try to tackle multiple subject areas when just learning the process.
  • Take each piece of the mapping template one at a time; looking at the entire map as a whole can be overwhelming.
  • Provide quality mapping rubrics for your mappers to refer to as they build their maps.
  • Incorporate map review sessions into mapping time.
  • Be patient…mapping is a process.

[personal touch]

  • Encourage each other!
  • Write personal thank-you notes to mappers letting them know their work and time is appreciated.
  • Put a little surprise in mappers’ mailboxes, along with an encouraging word:
    • M&M’s:  Thank you for your Marvelous & Magnificent Mapping work!
    • Tootsie Roll:  You’re on a roll!
    • Milky Way:  Your mapping progress is OUT OF THIS WORLD!
    • trail mix:  Let’s hit the mapping trail!
    • Starburst:  You’re a curriculum mapping star!
    • Reese’s Pieces:  The mapping pieces are starting to fit together!
    • animal crackers:  Mapping feels like a zoo…hang in there!
    • candle: Thanks for lighting the mapping way for ______! (individual who helped another)
    • party mix: Join the mapping party!
    • Extra gum:  Thanks for your EXTRA mapping time!
    • Skittles:  Taste the rainbow (of curriculum mapping success)!
    • Three Musketeers:  All for one, and one for all!
  • Celebrate successes! Take time to celebrate and let your team know the mapping process is valued.  And, asking the teachers how they want to celebrate goes a long way!  Celebration examples:
    • dress-down day
    • provide donuts or other special breakfast item
    • pizza delivery for lunch
    • after-school bowling, movie, or other social activity
    • get a parent volunteer to cover recess duties for a day
  • Set up a mapping buddy system.
  • Plan mapping work time opportunities with the teachers in mind.
    • Give the mapping work times a special name:  “Appetizers & Atlas” or “Munchies & Mapping”.  What teacher doesn’t like after-school snacks?
    • You’ve heard of “Wine & Canvas”?  Why not “Margaritas & Mapping” or “Ales & Atlas”?


  • No time to map?
    • Set aside 15-20 minutes of regularly scheduled faculty meetings to focus on curriculum mapping.  Better yet, set aside one faculty meeting per month to focus on the mapping conversation and process.
    • Organize curriculum mapping work sessions during late start or early dismissal times.
    • Free up teachers for a short time during the school day with the help of parent volunteers.
    • Arrange for a substitute teacher to give each teacher a day-away from the classroom to focus on curriculum mapping.
    • You’ve heard of student e-learning days, right?  Why not host a teacher e-learning week?! Issue a reasonable mapping goal and give teachers the flexibility to choose when they want to work on that goal within that week.  Once their goal is met, they can message/email to let you know they’ve accomplished the goal.  Just as students appreciate choices, teachers do too!
  • Find your mapping rhythm:
    • Set aside a specific time/day each week to focus solely on curriculum mapping.
    • Consider diary mapping…mapping as you teach can be less overwhelming than trying to think about an entire course or unit all at once.

[getting over the mapping hump]

Finding time is one thing…but, then logging on, remembering your password, navigating all of the template sections, and avoiding being completely overwhelmed….it can be too much to take in after teaching all day or week!  Why not take the technology piece away from mapping for a bit and get over that mapping hump on paper…yes, I said ON PAPER!

  • Create a blank mapping template with sections similar to what you would find on your mapping system.  (Make multiple copies of the template if you’re planning to tackle more than one unit at a time.)  Put in a binder or clipboard. Keep it close by.
  • While planning, teaching, or reflecting on a unit, jot down the essentials in the appropriate template section.
    • What would you name the unit?
    • Which standards did you cover (and assess) during the unit?
    • What do you expect your students to know after the unit is taught?
    • Is there academic vocabulary you expect your students to know and use during and after the unit?
    • What do you expect your students to be able to do after the unit is taught?
    • How did you assess your students before, during, and after the unit?
    • Which resources did you use?
    • How did you structure the unit instruction?
    • How were the lessons and activities differentiated to meet the needs of all learners?
    • How was technology used?
  • If you’ve kept good notes all along, you should now have the unit essentials all in one place.
  • Log-on while it’s all fresh in your mind. (Yes, you still need to log-on and remember your password.)  However, now your notes provide the many snapshots needed to build the unit map.
  • Don’t forget to REVIEW the unit with a lens of honesty.
    •  Is there anything you want to do differently next time?  Make note of it.
  • Repeat with the next unit….and the next…and find your mapping rhythm! You’ll be over that hump in no time!