Solving Pacing Issues with Layered Curriculum

I have received several emails this month from teachers who are working on their Layered Curriculum units over the summer. Many of them have questions regarding pacing. It can be a challenge to learn how to determine the length of assignments in a Layered Curriculum unit if you are new to the model.

One teacher asked what she should do with some of her more advanced students who finish a week or just those who are quick learners. If you have students who are finishing many days early, or, on the other end of the spectrum, are failing to complete even the C layer in the time allowed, you need to redesign your units.  One of the keys to Layered Curriculum is to make sure that we are including and appropriately challenging all the students in the room. This means those students that are at the two ends of the normal curve for learners, who may be left behind in traditional classrooms.

If you have students with a lot of advanced knowledge, make sure that you include some very challenging assignments, especially in the C Layer. Your role in the classroom is as a facilitator and one of your main jobs is to help students choose assignments that are appropriate for them. If you have students who are failing to complete even the C Layer in the time allowed, you will need to redesign and add simpler C Layer assignments or more variety in types of assignments in your C layer to accommodate the students.

This is one of the reasons I suggest if you are new to Layered Curriculum, that you keep your units very short, especially at the beginning of the year. I would suggest a one-week unit to begin with. At no point do I ever suggest teachers make units that last more than 2  or 3 weeks at the most. Once you’ve designed a few units and you see how they work with your population you will get much better at determining the types of assignments and the number of assignments that you need to include in each of the layers in order to keep all of your students actively engaged in the time allowed.