Standards and Backward Mapping

by James Green


In exploring backward mapping I would like to further explore the first standard from my Prezi. I will be student teaching in first grade in California. California has adopted the Common Core Standards. One that caught my eye deals with key ideas and details in relation to reading comprehension. It is standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.2. It states that students should be able to “Retell stories including key details and demonstrate understanding of their central message and lesson.” I chose this standard because to me, students being able to pick up on key details and understand the central message and lesson of a story is the basis for being able to comprehend what you are reading. Also, it’s very important to give first graders a great basis in reading. Students that show they are proficient with this standard will go a long way towards that.

In my Prezi I explained how I want to read the book “All in a Day” to my students. This is a book that follows a day in the life of a boy who lives in a farm house. Three proficiencies first graders should have when it comes to reading comprehension are:

  • Students should be able to identify whether something happened at the beginning, middle, or end of a story
  • Students should be able to identify the central message or main idea of a story
  • Students should be able to identify key details of a story

In thinking about learning experiences or activities for students that would help them achieve these proficiencies I would like to use a combination of worksheets and finally, incorporate an art project.

The first activity I will utilize is a “Map the Story” worksheet. This is a worksheet with a short passage at the top. No longer than a paragraph. It has a definite beginning, middle, and an end and has a main message or theme. Students will read the passage then fill out the “Map the Story” worksheet. Below the passage is a map section that is blank. It has areas titled “What Happened First?”, “What Happened Second?”, “What Happened Third?”, and “How Did the Story End?” In the center of the map it has the question, “What is the Main Idea?” If students can fill this out correctly it shows that they have a real handle on identifying key elements to a story as well as a central message.

Another good activity is to have students use the “Frog Prince Story” scene worksheet. First I will read the “Frog Prince Story” to my students. Then I will give them each this worksheet. The worksheet has 7 scenes from the book on it. The scenes are out of order on the worksheet. The students will cut out each of the 7 scenes then put them in correct order by gluing them to a sheet of construction paper. This is a good way for students to show they can recall, and in effect retell a story.

For the third activity I will have students show off their artistic ability. I will ask students to paint their favorite “key” scene from the “All in a Day” book. It could be any scene of their choosing. They will then give a short presentation to the class and explain why the scene they chose is their favorite. Also, I will ask them how the scene they chose is important to the story. I like this activity because it’s a fun way for the students to show what their favorite part of the story is. By doing the presentation and answering the question it also gives me a good idea of their comprehension.

I have chosen 3 assessments that should give me a good idea of how students are progressing with their reading comprehension. The first assessment is a basic short quiz. Students will read a short “Comprehension Package”. It will consist of a short paragraph or 2. They will then answer 4 questions regarding the the passage. The questions will be multiple choice with each having 3 answers to choose from.

Another assessment I will use is something I referred to in my Prezi about this standard. I will group students and ask the group specific questions about “All in a Day.” I will talk about specific incidents in the book and ask students whether the incident happened at the beginning, middle, or end of the book. This is an informal assessment that will let me know about how many students are really comprehending the story.

For the third assessment I will use the CORE Reading Maze Comprehension Test. The maze reading assessment is a task that measures how well students understand text they read silently. This assessment differs from some other ones because it relies completely on the text. Students will read a short passage. The first sentence is written normally. The following sentences have every seventh word replaced with the correct word and 2 distractors.

For example: The bird landed on the ground. It picked up a piece of (book, grass, tired) in it’s bill.

Students will be asked to circle the word that best fits the sentence. This is a great way to assess reading comprehension because capable readers understand the syntax of what they read and the meaning of the words they are reading. If a student is proficient with this assessment they show they have a strong reading ability.


References: Retrieved January 22, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2016.

Understanding by Design:Overview and Template. Retrieved January 22, 2016

Common Core Big Idea 4:Map Backward. Retrieved January 22, 2016

Backward Design. Retrieved January 22, 2016





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