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Reflection on unpacking standards

At the beginning of this unit, we were asked to unpack standards, which essentially entailed restating the standards in our own words and then brainstorming ways to implement and assess these curricular aims in the classroom. While I have been teaching English for the past eleven years now, this first task was a great test. It made me think and question whether or not I had truly understood what it meant to unpack a standard and restate it in my own words.

It was necessary for me to read up on the Common Core standards to become familiar with them. So it was helpful to watch the following video which explained the common core prior to starting the assignment.

Understanding that the Common Core attempts to connect differing States, I immediately went to see if there were resources created by states that have been demonstrating how a standard could be taught in the classroom. To my surprise, there were many resources such as lesson plans, syllabi, and resources for teaching all of the standards. One such resource was from the Los Angeles Board of Education: http://achieve.lausd.net/cms/lib08/CA01000043/Centricity/Domain/217/MELD%20OPINION

The aforementioned knowledge relieved a lot of tension that I had been feeling about potentially teaching in the US. The fact of the matter is that it is quite challenging to begin teaching within a new curricular context without a lot of support. Thus, the knowledge that there is a cornucopia of resources in support of the Common Core has been very comforting.

In addition to learning more about the Common Core, I was also helped greatly by Tantillo’s (2014) guidelines for interpreting, evaluating, implementing, and assessing state standards. This enabled me the opportunity to transition from planning to creating a framework that served as the foundation for my infographic where I analysed two grade 1, common core state standards. What I hadn’t realised in the first assignment was that utilising Tantillo’s (2014) guidelines were actually preparing me for the second and third assignments.

My rationale for the aforementioned is that I decided in assignment 1 to both unpack two standards in addition to drafting the proficiencies, assessments, and learning experiences that were the essence of the standard. It seemed to me that the process of unpacking standards is an iterative one that requires a teacher to analyse the multifaceted aspects of a standard through visualising the standard in its entirety from its conceptualisation to assessment in the classroom.

In in the final assignment, I was able to return to the objectives and lesson plan activities that I had created and reflect upon whether A) the objectives were realistic or SMART as well as B) if I had been correct in choosing the activities that I had chosen to meet the standard. Next week, I will share my findings with my colleagues and hopefully get my team involved with planning their schemes of work utilising a reflective, iterative process similar to the one that we’ve used this week to unpack standards.

Works Cited

Common core state standards for English language arts & literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Common Core Standards Initiative, 2012.

[DC Public Schools] (2012, Nov 2).”Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards.” Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s0rRk9sER0

Tantillo, S. (2014). “Tools  to unpack the ELA common core standards.” Retrieved from: http://www.middleweb.com/11235/solving-ela-ccss-puzzle/

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