The Mash-Up Curriculum
From a curricular standpoint, the core element that makes the CUBE unique is the “Mash-Up.” Mash-Ups are interdisciplinary sessions that last1.5 to 3 hours per day over six week blocks, in which students have the opportunity to engage in highly relevant, authentic learning both on- and off-campus. Each Mash-Up can be double-wide (a focus on two subjects), triple-wide or even quadruple-wide. For example, “Revolutions” mashes civics, history and race relations while “Inferno” mashes up literature, biology and statistics. All Mash-Ups are tied to either CCSS or NGSS standards as well as specific social emotional competencies. Mash-ups are developed by master teachers who use a design process that integrates an interdisciplinary approach with a focus on 21st century skills.
In the empathy stage we build a network of engaged stakeholders including teachers, students, admin, parents, community leaders, and professionals as to create 360 degree participatory brainstorming. These stakeholders identify clouds of data, interests, current events, relevant news, trends, and wicked problems affecting the lives of CUBE students in their past, present, and future.
During this phase, the stakeholder group works to identify and synthesize linkages between the “interest” clouds in order to initiate authentic clusters - making sure to honor diverse perspectives, long-term academic goals, community needs, students desires and overall pathways of learning.
The Ideate stage is a brainstorm of potential “mash-ups” and associated content integration, always keeping in mind student relevancy and authenticity - run mostly by teachers and admin. The mash-ups are also looking at scope, sequence and applicable standards (CCSS, NGSS, SEL, etc) as they brainstorm.
This step in the curricular design keeps in mind that students don’t just learn in formalized ways, but also as explorers who design and forge their own paths.
Mash-up process and prototype includes content mashing (science with lit with history), action mashing (coding, film, science inquiry, 3D printing, making, etc…) and skills/dispositions mashing (communication, risk taking, collaboration, grit, etc…). One of the primary goals of the prototype stage is to meaningfully integrate content, action and SEL. The goal at the end of this stage is to have multiple possibilities that envelop the discovery of knowledge, the action of doing and the sharing of community values. We call this “Learn. Do. Share.”
ITERATE AND VALIDATE
Continual feedback processes are critical to all mash-ups through student feedback, surveys, mastery checks, community input, teacher generated assessments (formative, interim, summative), evaluation rubrics, instructional practices, and students progress towards individual goals. This constant monitoring process supports our willingness and ability to pivot quickly before or during a Mash-Up if needed.
The backwards mapping of CCSS standards, NGSS standards and essential skills and dispositions standards to individual learners is an intensive, collaborative and essential process to the Cube. This process will rely heavily on an app based platform we are hoping to develop with Summit Schools PLP and ensures that each students personalized learning path results in a custom transcript.
Public exhibitions of learning
All Mash-Ups will conclude with public exhibitions of learning at the end of each block. The Cube has taken much of what High Tech High has perfected over the years and made it our own.