I’m sure there are many Wednesdays when parents and students wonder what teachers and administrators do from 1:30 PM until 3:00 PM. This is certainly a valid thought that has also provoked me to write about and share some of the important work that we are engaged in during this valuable time.
At the opening day meeting for staff and faculty, Dr. Harvey unveiled a blueprint of the connections we will develop this year to better define our curriculum and to help us to make connections to real world activities that will benefit our students.
As part of the blueprint, the District has set a goal for the first half of the year to develop K-12 Transfer Goals (McTighe, 2014). Sounds simple enough, but what exactly are they? Transfer Goals represent what students can do with the knowledge and skills they learn in school when they are confronted with or confront new challenges. The development of the idea of transfer comes from the work of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. Unfortunately, Mr. Wiggins has recently passed away, but Mr. McTighe continues to develop their work. In a still relevant 2012 article, they outline the distinguishing characteristics of transfer goals. The characteristics include “application in new situations” that require some level of “strategic thinking” where “learning is applied autonomously” while relying on habits of mind. (Wiggins & McTighe, 2012)
This year we have assembled Transfer Goal teams of K-12 educators that are working on content area Transfer Goals. For example, my team has been assigned to the development of Transfer Goals for Science, Engineering, and Technology. As we investigated connections to our National and State Standards we realized many similarities. The Next Generation Science Standards (Practices), Massachusetts Transfer Goals, and the AP College Board: Science Practices helped us to focus our work while keeping relevant, coherent connections to the Standards that drive out current curriculum work.
Our goals tend to highlight skills that students develop and hone along the journey from kindergarten through 12th grade. We hope they will gain the confidence to apply these skills while confronting problems and issues in their adult lives. As an example, one of our goals is that students will independently be able to use their learning to utilize scientific knowledge to make informed personal and Civic decisions that impact the world around them. While a lofty goal, it certainly outlines the transfer of skills that students learn while enrolled in the HWRSD that can be applied to situations outside of school.
So far, our work as at the beginning stages, but we hope that it will help us to develop strong vertical connections throughout our K-12 curriculum that will help our students to develop a skill set that will help them informed and actionable citizens.
- “Long-term Transfer Goals (examples) – Jay McTighe.” 2014. 7 Oct. 2015 <http://jaymctighe.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Long-term-Transfer-Goals.pdf>
- 2. “Wiggins and McTighe UbD transfer-goals-clarification-Feb …” 2015. 7 Oct. 2015 <https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxrZWVub3ljY3NzfGd4OjRjYmNiOWI2OWQ0M2RlYjc>