With the constant change in standards and the new push for higher rigor in the classroom, breaking down your standards is so very important. The expectations for the standards are no longer memorization and recall in any subject, which I personally think is fantastic because it creates so much more value in all subjects. I can remember hating Science and Social Studies as a child because I only associated them with memorizing what I thought to be useless information, but I loved Math and English Language Arts because I found them to be logical subjects in which I was applying what I was learning. I wish I’d been able to see that same value in Science and Social Studies as I now do. However, leaving those “memorization” teaching styles behind is hard for some teachers because it was all they knew prior to new standards.
If you looking for lessons that are already broken down by standard, check out these products from The Sparkly Notebook! There are products for EVERY.SINGLE.STANDARD for all middle school grades!
I hear so many teachers say “I know my standards,” and I in no way doubt that they do know the content of their standards, but knowing your standards means SO MUCH MORE than that. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, “Master teachers spend more time unpacking standards and objectives than they do planning learning activities because they understand those clear learning goals will drive everything else they do. They begin by determining whether the standard emphasizes learning content or a process. They also look to see what other knowledge and skills are implied by the standard.”
Knowing your standards should include knowing the specific content included in the standards, the hidden prerequisites, the Depth of Knowledge of each standard, and how to teach to that level of rigor. If you have never deconstructed your standards, no worries! The process is not very hard and is so worth it. All you need is my Deconstructing Standards Template (found HERE with detailed directions on my TPT store) and a copy of the Depth of Knowledge Chart (found HERE).
Using the Deconstructing Standards Template, you can really dive into the standards and break them down into Learning Targets (and, no, Learning Targets are not just another buzzword with no value! Tune into my next blog post for more information on Learning Targets and their value. I had to learn the hard way). I used this Deconstructing Standards Template during my Professional Learning Communities last year and heard several teachers talking about how much content they were teaching that was not in their standards, how much more depth they needed to go with certain standards, and about how much more confident they felt about teaching in general.
Deconstructing standards was a true game-changer at my school, and I sincerely hope you have this same experience! Not only have the teachers learned so much more about their standards,