It’s Monday, It’s ELA Common Core Day! Today is a continuation of last week’s look at Ainsworth’s (2003) work in unwrapping the standards, where we focused on Steps 1 and 2 (out of 5). Today’s tip is Unwrapping the Standards Step 3. We also want to take a moment and look at the whole picture. Ainsworth’s whole 5-step process is a very good way to get to know the Common Core Standards, so next Monday, we will continue with Step 4 and then Step 5 the following Monday, but today we are focusing on Step 3 – Determine the Big Ideas.
Need to Know
Skills to Use
How will this help my students?
Take a moment to think about what your students will “need to know” to do this… what “skills will they need to use?” and always, the bottom line is “how will this help my students?” Ask yourselves the questions that are pertinent to your grade level, your students’ levels and the needs of your group… For example:
- Do they need to know what retell or recount means?
- Do they need to know how a folktale is organized?
- Do they need to be able to retell or recount?
- Do they need to be able to listen to a story, to use their listening comprehension skills?
- Do they need to know the difference between major details and insignificant ones?
- Will this help them during your instructional time?
- How will retelling, recounting, determining theme, identifying major details help them with their achievement in reading?
And finally, let’s look at the whole picture… go back and look at how the standard builds from one grade to another, look at the Kindergarten one, and the first grade, and second grade, all the way to sixth grade or above. It is important to see where our students are going, not just having tunnel vision looking at our current grade only. We can see how the learning is layered. We will look at this whole picture more in-depth in a future post, with another standard.
“ ‘Unwrapping’ the academic content standards is a proven technique to help educators identify from the full text of the standards exactly what they need to teach their students. Unwrapped standards provide clarity as to what students must know and be able to do. When teachers take the time to analyze each standard and identify its essential concepts and skills, the result is more effective instructional planning, assessment, and student learning” (Ainsworth, L., 2003).
Until next time, share a strategy!