KCDL: Kraus Curriculum Development Library – Lesson Plans for the New Year!

You probably already know that the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library offers a wealth of books about education, curricula, lesson planning, and more. But that’s nowhere near all we have! (Check out previous blog posts for just a taste of what SSHEL has to offer.) UIUC students, faculty and staff have access to a great database called the Kraus Curriculum Development Library, or KCDL for short. Please note that KCDL is only available at a library computer or off-campus to UIUC affiliates with a NetID and password. According to the welcome page, KCDL contains “curricula, frameworks, and standards” in almost every subject imaginable for teachers (and teachers-to-be) of PreK through twelfth grades and adult basic education. It brings together teaching strategies, content, educational objectives, and evaluative techniques created by schools, school districts, government organizations, non-profit agencies, and corporations. Material added since 2001 is available in full-text in KCDL, but some older materials are only available on microfiche. Don’t worry, if you find an article you’d like to access but it’s not available in full text, SSHEL also has KCDL microfiche and a microfiche reader and printer. (And we’re happy to help you find the right microfiche and show you how to operate the reader.)

The search page for KCDL looks a little intimidating at first because it has so many options, but it’s set up to guide you through searches so you can find exactly what you need. These options include (individually or in combination with each other): title/annotation, primary section, subject, educational content, grade level, issuing agency, state, country, publication year, and KCDL edition. Each search category includes a definition, and KCDL also has a number of helpful tutorials and tips to further optimize your searches. It also has a keyword search option; although the advanced search option generally works much better. And of course, SSHEL librarians and staff are always happy to help you search KCDL.

To demonstrate just how helpful KCDL can be, we’ll present a few assignment scenarios. We’ll walk you through a sample search and describe a handful of the unique materials available in KCDL to supplement your lesson plans and assignments. One quick note before we begin. For each of the following searches, mark the “Results with full-text documents” box if you don’t want to use resources on microfiche.

Scenario 1:
Create a 50 minute lesson about Abraham Lincoln for third graders.

Naturally, SSHEL has books about Lincoln for children, social studies and history lesson plans and textbooks for teachers and education students, and even a couple of curriculum kits. But take a look at the additional unique materials for educators and students offered by KCDL.
For this first scenario, we’ll do a guided search like this:
1) In the Primary Section category choose “Social Studies” AND
2) In the Subject category pick “Presidents” AND
3) Finally, choose “Third” in the grade level category
4) All other search categories are left blank to indicate “any”

One of the results of this search is a thirty-eight page teacher resource guide about Lincoln’s farewell address to Springfield, Illinois created by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The illustrated guide contains the text of the address, background information, and six Lincoln lesson plans.

Would you like your lesson plan to combine Lincoln and the holidays? The search results also include another teacher resource guide created by the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum called Christmas at the White House. It contains an essay about the Lincoln Family Christmas, but also paintings and photographs of White House Christmas decorations through the years; an overview of recent president’s unique decorations; and discussion questions, writing prompts, and worksheets with answer keys.

Scenario 2:
Teach kindergartners about safety.

Again, SSHEL offers many great books about safety for young students and teachers, but KCDL can help you create a unique and comprehensive lesson plan.
A guided search is again your best bet to find resources about safety:
1) In the Subject category choose “Safety” AND
2) In grade level pick “K”
3) As before, all other categories are left blank to indicate “any”

This search yields a long list of interesting resources, including a 32-page PDF about outdoor safety entitled Parks and Protected Areas: Lost and Found, created by the Alberta Tourism, Parks & Recreation. It contains information about outdoor safety, several suggested activities, and reproducible hand-outs for students and parents. Another result is called CyberSmart! K-12 Student Curriculum: Safety and Security Online from the Character Education Partnership. It’s over 100 pages of lesson plans, worksheets, alignment to ISTE National Educational Technology Standards, home connections, and suggested activities for students in grades K-12.

Scenario 3:
You have a ten-page paper to write for your C&I class comparing high school STEM education initiatives.

For this assignment, we’ll do a guided search like this:
1) Choose “STEM Education” in the Subject category AND
2) Choose “Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth” in the Grade Level category (hold the CTRL key to choose multiple selections)
3) Again, leave all other categories blank to indicate “any”

This search provides fifteen results, including a 330-page document called simplyScience Curriculum published by the Fairbanks, Alaska North Star Borough School District. It’s chock full of information about science (including STEM) learning objectives for grades K-12 in the Fairbanks School District. Also, among the results is a document,Goals, Guidelines, and Standards for Student Scientific Investigations, issued by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) that offers a completely different set of goals, guidelines, and standards for science and STEM education. The results also contain a document from the Rhode Island Department of Education calledRhode Island K-12 Grade Span Expectations (GSEs) in Engineering and Technology.

As you can see, KCDL can be very useful for education students or anyone else interested in finding unique items about curriculum and teaching. We hope this introduction to KCDL proves useful in your research. Stop by SSHEL, and we’ll help you find some great resources for your next assignment!

Prepared by:
Jessica Zieman
Graduate Student
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign