Standards Shmandards

I’m late in posting this week!  I had a post about lesson plans to post, but a conference last week INSPIRED me to go a different direction.

At Engage OK (which by the way, was PHENOMENAL! I even said so, here on the OKSDE website), Amber Donaldson introduced the concept of standards bundling.  As it turns out, English teachers already do this! We bundle standards when we pair reading and writing skills together.  It was nice to put a name to the function and to see the breakdown of the whole process.

However, that wasn’t the amazing part.  Donaldson taught us to break-down each part of every standard. As it turns out, there are three or four skills embedded into each standard.  Seems obvious, but how many times do we miss some of the skills within standards?  We probably don’t know because we never broke them down!

By breaking down the standard, we can play with the vocabulary to ensure a few very important things:

  1. WE understand what we are trying to teach our students better if we know exactly which skills we are zeroing in on by teaching that standard.
  2. STUDENTS understand better because once we break down the skills, we are also breaking down the vernacular we use to teach them the skills. What words will they know when we say “Do this” and what words will they struggle with? We don’t know until we think about the specific skills.

Blog PicsClick the image for a link to the 7th grade English Language Arts standards for Oklahoma.  It is CRUDE but it is a start.  Since I’m teaching a new curriculum and a new grade, I think it’s especially important to be intimately aware of each and every standards nuance.

I struggled for a long time with the difference between standards based teaching and standardized test based teaching. There is a HUGE difference!  Breaking down these standards has helped me see that the standards we are given are not the problem.  How else are we supposed to be guided as we teach grade-level appropriate skills?  After teaching a standards-driven lesson, a secondary side-effect will be that they have skills mastery for their state assessments.  We both get the structure, we both reap the reward.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, let the standard guide ALL of your lesson plans!

Check out the link, leave a comment, and start your own bundling!

Mrs. Mac

Check out my TPT!

Untitled presentation (2)


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