The implementation of the new Essential Standards will require districts and schools to make some changes in the way they develop curriculum and instructional plans. For one, there are three fundamental shifts that have occurred with the new standards:

  • The standards place a greater emphasis on the development of conceptual understanding than they have in the past;
  • The use of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy makes it easier to understand the cognitive process for which students should engage as well as the type of knowledge that is the target of learning; and
  • The organization of the standards around five conceptual strands allows for greater integration of thinking around the big ideas in social studies.

Based on these shifts, we believe that the best way to implement these new standards is by adopting a concept-based curriculum and instruction approach.

This site is intended to be used as a guide for those educators who would like to develop their local curriculum using a concept-based model. Here you will find a wealth of resources to support the process of developing concept-based units of instruction. Because this is a very intense process, it will be most useful for those educators who have attended a concept-based unit development training. The information contained here should reinforce what you have learned during the training.

Please Note: While there are different models for designing concept-based units, the following critical components contained on this wiki are mostly based on the work of Dr. H. Lynn Erickson, international expert in concept-based curriculum and instructional design. This approach to curriculum and instructional design is better suited for the type of teaching, learning and assessing necessary for success with the new Essential Standards as well as preparing students to be College, Career and Civic READY!