Curriculum Review & Reflection

When reviewing your curriculum (either as a teacher or a district), the review should include looking at what resources are being used, how they are being implemented, and who is represented in them. Check out these resources below (as well as the Diverse Books page) for ways to review district and classroom curriculum and to reflect on what is being taught:


Maine Resources

Equity and Excellence in Maine School - Equity and Excellence in Maine Schools (EEMS) at the University of Southern Maine provides a clearinghouse of resources related to equity in K-12 schools. The mission is to promote awareness of equity issues and to provide resources to help ensure excellence in education for all children in Maine schools.


Reviewing Your Curriculum for Bias

Assessing Bias in Standards and Curricular Materials - This tool provides guidance in reviewing standards and curricular materials using equity-oriented domains. It also includes a scoring and analysis guide to assist with the evaluation process.

Syllabus Review - The Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California has created an online syllabus review guide that is intended to help instructors review often taken-for-granted syllabi content through a race-conscious lens and identify areas that can be leveraged to better support students from minoritized racial/ethnic groups.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogies - This webpage from the Coalition of Essential Schools features an observation tool and an assessment tool that have been developed to support culturally responsive pedagogies in schools.

Tools and Guidance for Evaluating Bias in Instructional Materials - The purpose of this report is to support the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in building the capacity of local educational agencies and schools in the identification of resources and tools that can be used by instructional teams to evaluate and assess bias in curricular materials. The materials reviewed provide insights into critical questions or approaches that ensure students will encounter materials that include and reflect a diversity of perspectives, narratives, and histories while elevating the contributions of non-White, non-male, non-dis/abled, or non-cisgender individuals. This report unpacks selected findings from a scan of available resources.

Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework - The Anti-bias Framework (ABF) is a set of anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action (IDJA). The standards provide a common language and organizational structure: Teachers can use them to guide curriculum development, and administrators can use them to make schools more just, equitable and safe. The ABF is leveled for every stage of K-12 education and includes school-based scenarios to show what anti-bias attitudes and behavior may look like in the classroom.

All Students Need Anti-Racism Education - As more and more teachers, administrators, schools and organizations are questioning their practices and looking at the racist history of their institutions, many are finally asking, “How we can listen to and support Black students, teachers and communities who have been systemically silenced for too long?” This question is essential, and examining anti-Blackness in our practice is something we all must be looking at. Looking at anti-Blackness or inequities brought about by systems rooted in white supremacy and racism is something all students should be doing. While more institutions, including primarily or historically white ones, are committing to this work, white teachers with primarily white students can feel hesitant to discuss these issues since they may not feel it affects them. This idea is a fundamental misunderstanding of what anti-racist work actually is.

Teaching Difficult Topics in History: Resources - My colleague in Arkansas has collected resources to assist with reviewing curriculum for bias and how to help teaching about the important issues that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Social Studies Curriculum Review Guide - Districts have come to understand that a robust, inquiry-based K-12 social studies program is central to their mission of helping students become active and informed participants in our democracy. But as instructional leaders seek to develop or purchase curriculum, they are finding little or no guidance around what constitutes an effective social studies curriculum, or what criteria define high-quality instructional materials. In consultation with their partner districts, inquirED has created a Curriculum Review Guide to support instructional leaders as they develop and search for social studies curriculum.

Decolonizing Your Curriculum

Anti-Racism: Including the Indigenous First Nations Perspective - This blog has a wide range of resources for learning about Indigenous people in your curriculum. There is a section specific for resources for educators looking for curriculum as well as suggestions about what educators can do. The resources list includes books, songs, movies, podcasts, articles, and many other resources.

Deconstructing Settler Colonialism - In this webinar, hosted by the University of Maine, Starr Kelly (Curator of Education at the Abbe Museum) facilitates a panel discussion with educators about Deconstructing Settler Colonialism.

Tips for Choosing Culturally Appropriate Books & Resources About Native Americans - As an educator, perhaps you have looked for classroom materials related to Native Americans and wondered how to know which materials were accurate and appropriate. Or perhaps you have wanted to look for the best materials you could use with your students, but didn't know where to begin. This webpage includes some guidelines for evaluating materials that you find, as well as some new ways to think about incorporating these ideas into the classroom!

Worksheet for Selecting Native American Children's Literature - The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has created a guide that helps supports educators when selecting books to use as part of your curriculum related to teaching about Native Americans.

PBS Learning Media: Culturally Responsive Teaching with Molly - Join PBS as they explore some of the very important social and emotional learnings that are woven into the show "Molly of Denali", especially those that teach the values of diversity and inclusion. In the show, Molly investigates all the interesting and important ways her culture is part of who she is, and she shares her cultural values and awareness with her friends and community. In this virtual professional learning episode, educators will have the opportunity to meet Molly of Denali creative producer Princess Johnson, who will lead us through a discussion about how educators can honor their students, embrace differences and appreciate similarities in a systematic way, that goes beyond simply offering food samples from around the world or engaging in read alouds.

Toward Responsibility: Social Studies Education that Respects and Affirms Indigenous Peoples and Nations - Given that all education in the United States takes place on Indigenous lands, National Council for the Social Studies recognizes the responsibility of social studies education to respect and affirm Indigenous peoples, nations, and sovereignty. NCSS supports the creation and implementation of social studies curricula that explicitly present and emphasize accurate narratives of the lives, experiences, and histories of Indigenous Peoples, their sovereign Nations, and their interactions—past, present, and future—with Euro-American settlers and the government of the United States of America. NCSS further supports communities, teachers, teacher educators, curriculum writers, district administrators, departments of education, and Tribal Education Departments/Agencies (TEDs/TEAs) working to provide more accurate learning opportunities for students at all grade levels that emphasize the sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, past, present, and future. (NCSS Position Statement, March 2018)

The Indigenous Land You Live On (NCSS Webinar Resources) - On September 3, 2020, the National Council for the Social Studies hosted a webinar about how to work to improve how we teach about Native Americans. The resources can be used to review and enhance curriculum.

Teaching & Curriculum with a Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Teaching Black History in a Culturally Responsive Ways - This article from Edutopia explores how black history is American history, and it should be taught throughout the year across the curriculum—not confined to a single month.

Striving for "the truth" - Read about how Madison (WI) students, teachers are working together to create a more inclusive curricula.

Nebraska Just Approved More Inclusive Social Studies Guidelines - Time magazine explores how the revised Nebraska social studies standards are changing the way kids are learning U.S. history and for the first time in state history underwent a separate review to check for bias.

Historically Responsive Literacy: A More Complete Education for All Students - This article and podcast takes a fresh look at the question of how to better serve diverse students. It’s a framework that deals directly with the curriculum side of things, the standards, the actual content we teach in our classrooms. The framework is called Historically Responsive Literacy, and it was developed by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, a professor, a former middle school educator, and the author of the book Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy, where she makes the case for this framework.

A History in Which We Can All See Ourselves - Proponents of greater inclusivity in history say that when young people see themselves in the story of our shared past, they not only develop a deeper appreciation of the subject but become more civically active, citing research indicating that students who feel a sense of belonging and identity in school are more likely to be engaged in society more broadly. Read more in this article from Edutopia.

Dos and Don'ts of Teaching About Race, Culture, and Identity - Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools created this chart to help evaluate resources, instructional practices, and assessment design.

Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Classroom Resources - The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has created a resource to help evaluate and create curriculum that helps to promote safer school environments.

Oregon DOE: Recommended Non-Textbook Resources - The Oregon DOE has compiled a list books and resources as part of a diverse and inclusive curriculum.


Continue the Work in the Classroom and with Yourself:

Along with these curricular review supports, it is important to take time to reflect and review not only your classroom curriculum and work to ensure that Diverse Books are being used, also to make sure that quality and appropriate resources are being used in teaching about the topics of:

Also, please take time to review resources that encourage you to self-reflect on how you, your students, and your colleagues engage in this work as well.