Layered Curriculum has changed the way I teach. Layered Curriculum was developed by Kathie Nunley. ( ©1999 – current year Layered Curriculum is a trademark developed and registered to Dr Kathie F Nunley.) She uses her website Brains.org to elaborate on her specific methods of implementing this curriculum.
Over the years I have modified Kathie’s methods to suit my students’ needs. The basic tenet of Layered Curriculum is to break your curriculum into three layers. I call my layers-layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3. Layer 1 includes many of the traditional class activities. It includes basic content, vocabulary, labs and class notes. It also includes “traditional” homework. Layer 2 is comprised of small projects that allow the content in layer one to be applied and explored. Layer 2 offers students many choices on what and how they continue their exploration. Layer 3 offers opportunities to research and create their own projects based on the current content.
Layer 1 does not offer choices. This insures that all students are exposed to the factual content that they are to explore further. Layer 2 offers many choices that serve to address the differences in students learning styles. They create crossword puzzles, 3D models, concept maps, glogsters, interactive online activities, related movies and additional readings. Layer 3 requires research and formulation of a product that show learning above and beyond what is learned in class. These include reading primary sources, writing persuasive essays, producing their own lessons on a related topic and creating their own case studies.
The students are given 2 quizzes each week based on homework assignments. They also need to pass an oral quiz before they move from layer 1 and layer 2 and take a test at the end of each unit.
Upon completion of layer one, the student can earn up to 70 points. Students may do 4 additional layer 2 assignments for another potential 20 points total. Two layer 3 assignments may be completed for 5 points each. Students decide how much they will do in order to earn the grade that they are aiming for. Enough time is allotted in class for most students to complete layers 1 and 2. Some students have time for layer 3 in class, but most students do this work at home. At the end of this process a one to one conference is held, reviewing the unit work, highlighting strengths and weaknesses and allow students to readdress shortcomings before the test.