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It's the Standard, Not the Curriculum!

If you are spending more time flipping through Expeditionary Learning, Focus, EngageNy, or Sadlier curriculum materials than you are unpacking the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks--you are probably starting off your planning on the wrong foot.  John King, Former Secretary of Education, posits that exemplary schools “are on the cutting edge, pioneering innovative educational practices—professional learning communities, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, positive behavior systems...” Here the steps to getting us on the right path to #Excellence:
1. Decoding the Standard
Using tools like  Achieve the Core, the Common Core Companion Guide, Illustrative Mathematics, will aid us in unpacking the demand, rigor, and expectation of our standards.  We must ensure we are first understanding what we must model for students how we wish them to adopt and apply the learning.
2. Determine how students will demonstrate mastery of the standards based
learning target.
A) What will serve as the medium for students’ demonstrating mastery of the learning target? Exit Tickets? Project? Simulation? Constructed Response? Flipgrid? Etc.
B) What criteria will serve as the exemplar for what you are looking for?  Is it clear? Is it rubric or rules based? Did you present and unpack the criteria prior to launching your lesson/unit of study?
3) Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
A) Materials (including Exemplar of Independent Practice)
B) Pacing (use a timer/set time stamps)
C) Rigor (Depths of Knowledge)
D) Differentiation (Resources by Edutopia)
Guiding Questions to Plan For:

  • When a student completes their task or activity, what will the student be able to do with what they have learned?  How are they being held accountable to their own learning? Do they have their own goals or progress monitoring tool?  How will you and they know they have demonstrated mastery?
  • What key question(s)/task(s) could you give them at the end of the lesson to assess mastery? How does it align to the rigor of the Interim Assessment?
  • How are you pushing your base (normative group who generally meets the expectation) to exemplary?
  • What feedback will you provide to inform students (and parents) of their performance?  How will you progress monitor their performance?

Sample Tools:
Sample Data Tracker
Sample Skills Data Tracker
Data Tracking Guidance