Integrating Standards into the Curriculum
Most states have established a set of academic standards that identify the explicit content that students need to acquire at each grade level. Generally, academic standards describe what needs to be taught, but not when or how to teach it. The following tips will give you guidance on how to use academic standards to determine what to teach and when. Also, your district or site might offer you additional guidelines to follow while teaching to the state standards.
This Week's Tips
Obtaining Your State Education Standards (Monday)
Locate a copy of the academic standards for your discipline. Check with your site administrator, district office, county office of education, or state office of education. Many states have put their academic standards on the Internet, in which case you can download and print them yourself. Otherwise, you may need to order the standards by telephone or regular mail.
Identifying Goals Based on the Standards (Tuesday)
Use the standards to identify a set of goals for each course you teach. Remember that goals are broad and can cover numerous lessons. Return to the standards and read them in detail. Notice relationships among the different items and make note of them. You can do this with sticky notes, on lined paper, or using a graphic organizer. Set aside the standards and your notes for a while. When you return to them, see if you can identify approximately five main goals for a semester-long course.
Creating a Scope and Sequence Based on the Standards (Wednesday)
List one goal, or topic, for each month the course is taught.
After you decide how you will teach the goals and subtopics of your subject, you can create a scope and sequence that lists the goals to be taught each month. The main point of this document is to place your goals in a logical order and to determine how much time to dedicate to teaching each goal. The scope and sequence will give you an overview of what you will teach during the full course. Use this sequential list of goals as an outline as you plan your lessons. It will also help you pace yourself as you teach.
As a result, by the end of the year, you should have taught everything that your students are expected to learn, as identified in your state or district standards. You will know what to teach and when to teach it.
Text-Driven Courses and State Standards (Thursday)
Check your textbook against the standards to determine what areas you will need to supplement to teach to all the standards. The majority of work completed in some courses, such as math, may be driven by a text or other sequential materials. To make sure that using the text will allow you to teach all of the standards identified by your state or district, you can compare the table of contents of the program with the academic standards. Make a photocopy of your subject’s standards for your grade level. Then check off the items in the photocopy as they appear in the table of contents. If some items appear to be missing in the text, turn to the index and continue checking off items as they are listed there. Some textbooks provide state standards correlations for you.
How to Use the Standards to Determine What to Teach First (Friday)
Use the standards to determine what areas to teach first and which may be skipped if time becomes a concern. Courses driven by textbooks often have more information than can be taught in one or two class sessions. You can prioritize the information in the text. First, make a photocopy of your textbook’s table of contents. Then check off the items in the photocopy as they appear in the academic standards for your subject and grade level. Use your background knowledge to determine if any of the unchecked items in the table of contents may be skipped and possibly taught at the end of the semester if time permits. Be sure to consider carefully the repercussions of skipping any items. For example, if the standards do not include a review of fractions, but your experience tells you that students may have trouble with ratios or algebra without such a review, keep the fractions as part of the curriculum.