In reflecting on this week’s assignments in regards to applying standards it has become clear to me how important it is to have a plan in place. A teacher needs to know what his/her big picture plan is so they can then break down their plan into much smaller sections. It seems like being able to do this is a real key for teachers in their quest to get the most out of their students and having their students be able to learn at a high level.
After doing the assignments this week it became clear how everything fits hand in hand. Unpacking a standard, backwards mapping, and creating objectives are all so closely related.
I kind of liken backward mapping to planning a long driving trip cross country. It doesn’t make sense to not think about the route you’re going to take pretty thoroughly before you begin your journey. You may still get there if you don’t plan out your journey but it probably won’t go nearly as smoothly as it would if you made a detailed plan of your route before you started your trip. I can see how important backwards mapping is because it’s critical to know where students are supposed to be at the end of a unit or at the end of the school year. So, when a teacher knows what this end goal is they can properly plan out how they will go about getting students to realize these goals. When a teacher knows what the goal or end product is supposed to be they will know what their instruction should consist of and they will be able to plan it out accordingly day by day and week by week. I found the concept of backward mapping to be very helpful.
Unpacking a standard is another good way to help a teacher figure out exactly what they are shooting for when they are trying to have students be able to fulfill a standard. I found that isolating the nouns and verbs in relation to a standard got me on the track of thinking about what the expectations of students are in relation to the standard. I look forward to getting really good at breaking down a standard. I’d like to become proficient at identifying what students expectations are and how I would help them achieve those expectations.
In thinking about creating SMART objectives for standards it has become clear how important it is to have clear-cut specific expectations. To me, “measurable” is the key here. It really gets me thinking about exactly how I will go about measuring student comprehension of standards. The second standard I explored in the “Unpacking a Standard” activity was a little tricky for me. I don’t think I thought it through quite enough. As you pointed out, I didn’t mention how I would measure student’s ability to ask questions about a text to clarify aspects of the text they didn’t understand. It was a good reminder that I need to find ways to have an end product that is measurable so I know if the students are meeting the standard.
In closing, I think this week’s assignments were a good introduction into really thoroughly exploring a standard and breaking it down properly. I really like the concept of knowing what the goal of a standard is and then starting your planning from there.