Unpacking Standards Leads to Confidence, Not Chaos, for Teachers and Students - Maria Nielson
As teachers to ensure we have the ability to teach the subject we need to first understand what we want students to take away. Anyone can walk into a class room and tell students to turn to page 250, but it takes a great educator to sit down and focus on what they need to teach so each student is successful and has the knowledge needed to move on to their next grade or class. Teachers who spend the time unpacking the standards are the ones who can answer hard questions and advise students why the lesson is important to them now and in the future (Nielson, 2016). Understanding the needs of the lesson also helps teachers ensure all students are grade level standard and no student is being left behind (Nielson, 2016). Unpacking the standards helps all students excel and reach higher standards of learning.
Here is a list of how to unpack standards provided by Maria Nielson. They can be used as a tool to be successful when it is your time to unpack the standards for your lesson plan.
These are the steps in unpacking standards into learning targets (retrieved from: (Nielson, 2016)
Read the standards as a team.
Circle the verbs.
Underline the nouns and noun phrases.
Determine the number of targets found within the standards.
Write as separate learning targets.
Remember to keep the core language intact at all times.
Do not omit any part of the standard.
Determine the depth of knowledge required of the standard.
Pull the academic vocabulary from the standard.
Unpack all of the standards before digging into how the standards will be taught and assessed.
Read all of the unpacked standards to determine the standards you will prioritize. These are often called power standards, essential knowledge, or big rocks.
Reference Nielson, M. (2016, July 19). Unpacking Standards Leads to Confidence, Not Chaos, for Teachers and Students. Retrieved from All Things Assessment: http://allthingsassessment.info/2016/07/19/unpacking-standards- leads-to-confidence-not-chaos-for-teachers-and-students/