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Creating Assignments that Matter


assignments matterAlthough veteran teachers may relish the freedom that comes with being able to single-handedly take charge of their curriculum development, those who are new to the profession are often overwhelmed by the task.

It makes sense: Veteran teachers have a robust arsenal of lesson ideas; they’ve gone through the trial and error period of keeping great assignments, tweaking mediocre ones and scrapping others that didn’t work at all. New teachers, however, are only beginning to build their repertoire and in many cases, they’re spending 10 to 12 hours a day juggling lesson planning, grading and attending to all of the other administrative responsibilities that come with the territory.

Curriculum development is of great concern for administrators, especially when they find research suggesting that 15 percent of teachers leave the profession and another 14 percent change schools after their first year, often as the result of feeling overwhelmed, ineffective, and unsupported.

Now that principals are expected to, amongst other things, design, implement and assess effective curriculum, we thought Eleanor Dougherty’s new book, Assignments Matter, might be of interest. In it, she draws on over a decade of experience coaching and working with “reform-minded educators,” to focus on using effective teaching assignments to enhance literacy in late-elementary through secondary education.

Both administrators and teachers should find this helpful since it not only streamlines the assignment-making process, but elucidates the impact effective assignments have on teaching and learning. Below you can watch a 15-minute interview with her about the book.