STEAM Job descriptions for Curriculum Planning




Using job descriptions can facilitate program planning and student learning. A job description provides us with rich opportunities to extract content areas, learning goals, success criteria, and rich tasks for learning. It just doesn’t matter if the position is paid or not, volunteer or mandatory. The point is that you will often find key information about skills that are important in our world today, and perhaps discover more relevant ways to teach those skills.

In my quest to make learning relevant for students, I have begun to look at job postings for S.T.E.A.M. related work, and think about ways that I can apply them to the curriculum. There are a great number of possibilities that crop up when we consider how our curriculum can be interpreted through the lens of a real job.

Consider the following job description in blue. As you review it, consider the cross-curricular, and integrated learning opportunities that may present themselves. Consider the project-based learning opportunities you can use to help students gain the necessary skills to apply for this job. Where do various technologies fit into this picture?

Check it out: 



Organization: Ministry of Transportation
Division: Provincial Highways Management
City: London
Job Term: 1 Permanent
Job Code: 12682 – Engineering Services Officer 3
$1,122.02 – $1,410.37 Per Week*
*Indicates the salary listed as per the OPSEU Collective Agreement.
Understanding the job ad – definitions

Posting Status:

Job ID:
Apply Online
View Job Description
Are you looking for a new challenge? Would you like to apply your knowledge of civil engineering technology and computer abilities in a new way?
Consider this opportunity in structural design while contributing to the safety of Ontario’s transportation system.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this role you will:
• Prepare scale drawings depicting bridge details and materials for review and approval;
• Prepare associated contract documentation according to Ministry standards using required software;
Review bridge site plans and preliminary geometry information supplied by consultants;
• Carry out quantity calculations and cost estimates;
• Provide and assist in the training of regional staff in bridge inspections, in the use of computerized bridge detailing systems and bridge management systems;
• Provide interpretation of standards, specifications and policies as required;
• Assist in bridge inspections by carrying out inspection of simple structures, and updating and maintaining related databases;
• Provide technical guidance, training and advice to junior staff on bridge drafting and contract preparations, durability and construction issues with complex structural details and innovative techniques ensuring safety and economy;
• Answer queries on technical issues from other jurisdictions as required.

How do I qualify?

(aka learning goals and success criteria, criteria for rubrics and other assessment methods)

Knowledge of Bridge Design

• You have knowledge and skills in the design, detailing and contract preparation of provincial bridge contracts.
• You have knowledge and skills to be able to inspect bridges.
• You have knowledge in bridge design and detailing principles, and ability to consider various constraints such as materials, fabrication and production techniques.
• You have practical working knowledge of the varied and complex safety issues related to the design of bridges.

Communication Skills

• You have well-developed oral and written communication and presentation skills.
• You can use consultation skills to identify needs and maintain effective working relationships with regions and other functional teams
• You are committed to customer service.

Research and Project Planning Skills

• You can understand and interpret engineering plans and profiles, technical reports and relevant codes of practice.
• You have knowledge of project planning in order to design, detail, implement, lead and manage a number of concurrent projects of varying degrees complexity, individually or within a team environment.
• You have demonstrated analytical, planning, scheduling, project management and work coordination skills.

Computer Skills

• You can use computer systems and their applications, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems and database systems.

Now that you have had a chance to look at this, tell me you are not inspired by the sheer opportunities to connect science, math, technology and literacy? How many skills can be extracted and channeled into balanced literacy and math activities? How many rich tasks can be created? What projects and inquiries can be facilitated? How will they culminate into an end of unit(s) assessment task that includes applying for this job?
How can we help students figure out what they need to do next in order to ‘prove’ that they have the skills to apply?
What if my students were given a small bank of job descriptions, and they need to choose one that looks interesting that they will apply for.
Here are a few steps to consider:
1. Conduct your hypothetical job search
3. Teach the feedback skills that enable all students to engage in higher quality feedback and assessment as learning processes.
4. Find the Big Ideas
5. Plan your projects, centers, and assessment protocol.
6. Reflect
7. Share
Job searching can provide key information into the skills and knowledge that are important in our world. They can even help inform our curriculum planning and instructional design. Next time you are wondering how to infuse math, science, literacy and more into your short and long range plans, consider starting with a job search.
Deborah McCallum
c 2016

Feedback Matrix for Instructional Design

The art and science of giving feedback is complex. What may appear to be quite easy to give, while at the same time quite difficult to fit in a busy schedule- is actually a complex process that we need to involve learners in.

The following is a Feedback Matrix that I created to help educators consider the variables that go in to feedback processes with learners. These considerations will facilitate the design of your learning environment with learning tasks built on a strong foundation of using the #feedbackfriendly classroom as a pedagogy.

The variables considered are:

  • Teacher Variables
  • Student Variables
  • Subject
  • Context or Place
  • Learning Goals
  • Tasks to Reach Goals
  • Achievement

The Feedback Matrix by Deborah McCallum


This framework supports the idea that we can design our learning environments for Feedback Friendly Pedgagogies that are inclusive, collaborative, and support modern learners.

Please consider the chart as a guide for creating your own Feedback Friendly classroom

Deborah McCallum



Deborah McCallum

c 2016

Question Matrix for Instructional Design

How do you organize all of the curriculum pieces together?

How do you organize all of the curriculum pieces together?

This is a Question Matrix I created to help to explore the curriculum based on important questions we need to be asking ourselves when designing our programs. It was inspired by the work of Dillon (2009). It is very big and complicated – perhaps quite impractical – but it is also very organized and comprehensive. A cumbersome, yet reflective tool to use while planning and designing your curriculum.

The same questions are along each axis, but interconnect in different ways:

Teacher – who?

Student – Who?

Subject – What?

Milieu – Where and When? 

Goal – Why? What is the point?

Activity – How?

Result – When? 


Please find a printable version here: Question Matrix

Deborah McCallum

c 2016



Dillon, J. T. (2009). The questions of curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(3), 343-359. doi:10.1080/00220270802433261
What are the basic things that compose curriculum, and what are the questions that may be posed about these things? Joseph Schwab’s conception of curriculum is used to introduce a scheme of questions concerning the nature, elements, and practice of curriculum. Formulations of questions by other curriculum theorists are reviewed and analysed in light of this scheme, and the various uses of such questions are described. How far the questions prove to enhance thinking and acting in the domain of curriculum is the ultimate criterion of the usefulness of the questions. The answer to this final test question, as to the others, is to be found in the circumstances of practice

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

The purposes of a Library Learning Commons are inherent in the 5 Standards of the Canadian Library Association. They can be found in the Leading Learning Document.

They are as follows:

  1. Facilitating collaborative engagement to cultivate and empower a community of learners.
  2. Advancing the learning community to achieve school goals.
  3. Cultivating effective instructional design to co-plan, teach and assess learning.
  4. Fostering literacies to empower life-long learners.
  5. Designing learning environments to support participatory learning.

The Learning Commons therefore plays a big role in providing options for collaborative engagement, innovation in learning design opportunities,  and multiple literacies. That is why I created this Technology Mini-MOOC.

I created this mini-mooc with the goal of providing free, flexible and safe spaces to try out new tech skills. This is a way to increase engagement of students, educators and parents alike. By increasing basic technology skills, we are also increasing the differentiated pathways that can engage learners, and improve student achievement.

It is important to provide agile, and differentiated learning experiences for all learners.

This MOOC is about fostering digital and technical literacies that can empower and promote life-long learning. Enrollment is set at 10 per term in order to provide personalized feedback and guidance to candidates if needed. No timelines, no deadlines. When students, educators, parents and community have a safe space to go to build confidence and agency in tech skills, we are helping them to gain vital skills in a globalized, future-oriented learning environment.

Please join the MOOC, or peruse the site as we create new networked learning communities together that enable us to respond to ever changing school, district and global demands.

While still a work in progress, I would appreciate feedback to make this better for when it officially launches.

Please check out our site at: Learning Commons Technology in Learning Mini-MOOC



Deborah McCallum

c 2015

Instructional and Assessment Design Strategies


When working with our young readers, the way we design our instruction and assessment has a significant impact on the development of proficiency. Without a doubt, the strategies that we implement in our planning and development will need to be based on assessed student need, interest, and of course, within the context of universal design and differentiated instruction. Our theoretical foundations, including theories of exceptionality will affect how we adapt our programs and have a particularly significant impact on how our diverse learners become better readers.


Cross-curricular instruction, using real-life experiences, and personal interests all become part of our action plans for supporting struggling readers. However, we also need to ensure that we are using evidence-based practices to create learning environments that reflect the ethical standards of our profession. Our instructional and assessment strategies are proven to support struggling readers, including students who are English Language Learners (ELL).


The following Instructional and Assessment Strategies are essential to supporting struggling readers, including ELL readers. How you design and implement these strategies for your own instruction and assessment needs, will reflect your own contexts and learning environments. In addition, these strategies work best when implemented in a safe and supportive learning environment that contributes to the equity of reading outcomes for all students.


They are based on Information from the Edugains Website:

Please keep in mind that there are multiple forms of assessment that can be used in reading, and Language Learning is developmental. It involves experimentation and approximation. You need to trust your professional judgement, and seek out professional consultation where necessary. Collaboration and moderation is key to providing reliable instructional and assessment methods.


Instructional Strategies:


  1. A lot of pre-reading discussion
  2. Graphic organizers before, during and after reading
  3. Scaffolding comprehension texts – preview and discuss text features first
  4. Daily read-alouds and think alouds with a variety of media and texts
  5. Opportunities to make predictions and disucss in shared reading
  6. Explicitly teaching semantic, syntactic and graphophonic cueing systems
  7. Language-experience texts
  8. Subject-specific and cross-curricular reading materials
  9. Time for students to read each day
  10. Help students choose the just right book
  11. Small group work with English speaking peers
  12. Anticipation guides to assess pre-reading beliefs
  13. Make predictions in pre-reading based on visuals
  14. Make preditions based on first sentence, first paragraph, key text
  15. Adopt roles of different characters while reading Readers Theater Texts
  16. Create a story map or timeline as a visual representation of main features of the story
  17. Introduce music, chants, poems etc. to reinforce expressions and patterned speech. Keep a collection of them for re-reading.
  18. Read first language or dual-reading books
  19. Model how to skim and scan texts for pre-reading
  20. Jigsaw reading where each student becomes and expert on one section of reading and then shares
  21. Literature circles for opportunities for a student to share about a book
  22. Deepen understanding of text by taking on role of character in the hot seat

I am sure that you already have key design ideas for incorporating more cross-curricular connections as well.



Possible Assessment Strategies:



  • Portfolios: Help students to see progress over time, recognize quality work and share with parents.
  • Create Goal-setting checklists
  • Opportunities for assessment for, as and of learning
  • Provide assessment in students first language if necessary – access experts for that
  • Use effective rubrics, but provide differentiated opportunities for students to express their comprehension, decoding, metacognition orally and in writing
  • Google Forms for Assessment:
    1. When I run guided reading groups, I also like to fill out google forms. I change them based on the expectations / skills I am looking at. But the most important thing that comes of this are the anecdotal comments I make. I end up with amazing spreadsheets of comments that I am able to find patterns with. It is also amazing at how often I forget the nuances, but then can achieve a much clearer picture:)


How do you take your reading strategies and design your Instruction and Assessment to improve reading skills?



Deborah McCallum

c 2015