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The First Step with a New Learning Standard

What do we do first when undertaking a standard, we have not done before?

The first step I take with a new Common Core standard is identify the “what.” That is, what are the concepts and big ideas I can pull from that mess. Then, what will be my lesson goals? So, that I can break it down or translate that to understandable instruction for effective classroom use. We have to have the “what” first in order to break down and “unpack” the needed “skills” to be learned and then the “how” to accomplish this. Look at the standard guide, and what do we need to know that each standard builds upon from the previous standard and the following one, then the chunks we engage with, the “scaffolding.”

I usually take the standard, find the “what,” and create the goals for student success. Thus, think it through. The learning targets will be the foundation of our lesson plan. They show the teacher what to teach and what the student needs to know in knowledge and skill. Learning targets will be our short-term goals or statements. They should clearly state what you expect students to know and what they will be able to do at the end of the lesson. Also, what behavior they need to have is also important.

Look for the “what,” the information we need to look from the standard by subject and grade level.

  • What is the reason for the lesson, so we know what to set up and observe?
  • What should my students need to understand and be able to do?
  • What are the details for us to know and be able to introduce what is to be taught?
  • How will we then go about it?

With the “what” of the big ideas, then we can:

  • Ask, what is on the scaffolding that each cluster builds on the previous one and so forth.
  • How and what will it take for my students to be able to understand and perform the skill that is presented in the standard.
  • How will we work on them and practice to gain mastery?
  • What are the “concepts” they need to learn and apply that we evaluate.
  • What are the “skills” and the ability the students needed to achieve the learning goals? The expertise, practice and so forth to do it well.

Thus, we take the above and that the “what” and create the “tasks” needed for the work, experiences, responsibilities. Then we will know what our students need to learn, the concept and practice the skill. Also, consider what are they need to find, what strategies are to be applied, illustrate and explain?

Once we understand the standard, we can then unpack them into short-term and long-term goals. Then establish long-term and short-term goals. What do my students need to do first from the standard, becomes the 30-day goals, then weekly learning targets and then daily learning targets and or objectives? And in so doing, how can I do all this creatively plan and set goals to be effective? Then create a routine, so this does not consume my time.

Our goal as teachers is to create a learning environment where students want to learn. Where they can feel safe, gain confidence and express and experience their success. It is imperative that students know and feel that their teacher has a well thought-out and useful lesson and that we care about them. That we will help them engage in the learning process and not be critical or aloof. Help them step by step in their progress with feedback and believe that can learn, so they catch that belief. They need to see us being a teacher and helping them and see them as individuals. Students who know and feel his, will improve and want to learn.

This is what I developed from a multitude of sources and use:

Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher, seasoned Special Education teacher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a STEAM teacher and a father of a son with autism.

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