Have you ever read through your state standards only to scratch your head and say, “Where do I even begin?” Okay, I’m about to share all my secrets. In fact, what I’m about to show you is exactly what I use to ensure my resources are standard aligned.
You can use this method for any subject for any grade. So, let’s get started on how to decompose standards to select and create aligned activities.
Step 1: Read the standard and write it down.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you really must read and know the standard before you teach it. Read every single word out loud. Don’t worry if it sounds like a lot; I’m going to show you how to break it down. Write every word of the standard onto a sheet of paper. Sure, you can type it out, but writing it will help you remember it.
Step 2: Highlight the verbs.
After reading the standard, highlight the verbs. There may only be one or two, or you could have several. That’s okay! Only highlight the verbs.
Step 3: Highlight the nouns
Using a different colored highlighter, identify important nouns. You’ll notice that some nouns have adjectives and this is important too! I’ll explain why later on.
Step 4: Match your verbs with your nouns using a T-chart
Now that you’ve identified your verbs and nouns, it’s time to put them back together; this time, we’ll be using a T-chart because it’s easier to read things in a list than as one large paragraph.
Step 5: Form the skill statements
Using the T-chart, now you can form your skill statements. The particular standard I used in the example pictured has three skill statements. We can easily see this because there are three verbs. For the following example, we can see that “represent” is the highest depth of knowledge skill (DOK) and the highest on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Therefore, it’s wise to start this lesson with the lowest DOK, which is “use” (DOK 1).
For this example standard, we’ve now identified that students will need to do the following:
- Solve word problems with addition to 20
- Solve addition word problems with three whole numbers to sums of 20
- Model with objects
- Use drawings
- Model with equations
- Represent the problem with a symbol for the unknown
Now that we’ve scaffolded the standard, you can easily determine the mini-lessons for this standard. In fact, there’s over a week’s worth of lessons for this particular standard!
You can also use this information to create an essential question and a rubric for this particular standard!
For the essential question, we can think about this standard’s overall goal, which is to solve addition problems with three addends. So, you could phrase your essential question to something like, “How can I add three numbers in a word problem?”
Finally, using the statements you’ve just created, you can create a rubric with those. Consider the different levels of mastery: below grade level, at-risk, making progress, and grade level. Creating a rubric for it may look something like this…
And there you have it! A simple, step-by-step way to break down the standards into smaller lessons and help your students master the necessary skills. I always find it helpful to break things down by writing them. For more helpful tools, you can check out my FREE STEM planner here.
Want more teaching tips? Check out my post here on how to create individualized spelling lists for your students!
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