So in our last two articles, we’ve looked at what it’s going to take to INCREMENTALLY implement the Common Core Standards – – – note the emphasis on incrementally! (We can’t continue to do the whole throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water thing we have the tendency to do in education!).
We looked at how you plan for one domain of the standards by using your current curriculum to figure out where you’re strong, where you’re weak and which Standards aren’t taught at all. Then we looked at creating common mini-assessments for the target domain.
Now we’ve got to look at how we’ll construct our lessons.
(It’s at this point that you might want to throw in the towel and think, “Can’t someone just write all of these lessons for me already? I mean, isn’t my time well spent on the teaching, not the creating portion of the Common Core?????”).
Well yes. And no.
Um, what I mean is this: you will have to put in the time up front to design the lessons that are going to be efficient and effective in getting kids to the point of mastery in the new standards. The cool thing is, that while you’re designing the lesson and mini-assessments, you’re going to get better at learning the Standards – they will become near second-nature to you. And that’s a GREAT thing!)
We’re going to start simply as we build our lessons – we’ll get more mature, fancier and even better at it as we go. The first goal? START SOMEWHERE!
Step 1: Read the standard thoroughly and completely. Read the standard from the grade levels prior and up a couple of grade levels above yours
Step 2: Jot down all of the vocabulary/academic language from the standard – you will need to weave this into your lesson, so keep your list close by
Step 3: Take a few minutes to brainstorm (DON’T OVERTHINK!) all of the necessary skills that go into “knowing” or mastering that standard – in other words, what does the standard assume that your kids will know how to do?
Step 4: Take a piece of blank paper and fold it in ½ and then ½ again. (This will give you 4 boxes…yes, I know I’m a total math wizard…please hold your applause)
Step 5: Jot “Teach” at the top of one box, “Model” at the top of another…then follow up with “Guided Practice” and “Application”
Step 6: Start creating your lessons by writing the instruction into each of the boxes – WHERE YOU CAN USE YOUR CURRICULUM, DO SO! It’s not likely that you’ll be starting from absolutely scratch in every box – but it IS likely that you’ll have to add and delete to make your lessons more standard-worthy
You may be thinking – – wait a minute Jackson! What if my lessons aren’t good? How do I know if they’re good? Can’t you just write them for me? I’ll pay you!! – – ha ha!
This is how you’ll know your lesson is successful – if the kids pass the mini-assessment. (See last week’s article)
Here’s your mantra for lesson designing: I CAN DO THIS. I’M LEARNING TO FLY THE PLANE WHILE I’M FLYING IT. MY LESSONS WILL IMPROVE IN THEIR DESIGN AND MATURE AS I DO THIS. KEEP MOVING FORWARD. THINK CAREFULLY, BUT DON’T GET STUCK ON OVERTHINKING.