One of the things that I have become more passionate about over the years is digging into the standards. I’ve always been a standards based teacher, but in the last six years, I think I’ve worked on taking what I already do to a new level. My old grade chair left our school two years ago to become a personalized learning specialist. She came back mid year to become our Curriculum Resource Teacher (CRT). Basically, her job is to help teachers create lessons that are rooted in the standards and highly engaging. I am so excited about getting to work with her! Her old school was big into personalized learning and she’s sharing some of that knowledge with our staff now too. I didn’t think I’d be all that good at it, but…after watching a few videos and a few encouraging chats with my CRT, I was ready to give a few things a try! 🙂 The first thing that I started to do with my kids was break down the standards. Now, I’ve already DONE this work for myself…and frankly, I was a bit skeptical about what six year olds would be able to do with this…but…my kids are INTO IT. #bigtime
I would say that in some primary classrooms, it might be best to start with the I Can statement and break that apart for deeper understanding. In Kindergarten, I might model this most of the year with I Can statements and have them move towards independence on this in the fourth quarter.
Want to use this with your learners? Click HERE for a copy of this for your class.
We use a lot of rubrics in my room and we talk about the levels of the rubrics often. I tied that language into what I wanted to use with my students for digging into the standards.
Here’s what I did to implement this in my room.
1.) Review the standard ahead of time to see if it needs to be broken down into parts, or if it is short enough that a unit of study will be enough to teach it to mastery.
2.) Have the students write down the part of the standard you’re teaching, or print it on a label for them to use.
3.) Pull out the nouns and verbs for reflection.
4.) Have students develop their own I Can statements based on their understanding of the standard.
I don’t have unlimited copies, and so it was more practical to have the students write in their composition books for this. I made a cuter sheet for presentations and the occasional observation, but…..most of the time, I just have my students write like what you see in the example.
I just use one small part of the standard at a time, based on what I am teaching. So, for example, with what I put here, I’d start with making my main goal for instruction to be introducing a topic in an opinion piece. Later on in the year I will add more of the standard and add to the goals. I have had students write the standard, but I’ve also typed it up on labels and stuck them on there too! 🙂 After we discuss the standard, then we pull out the verbs and nouns. I go over the definitions of what the words mean and then help them to come up with an I Can Statement. If you want to bump up the progress monitoring aspect, have them write 0,1,2,3,4 at the bottom of the page and circle where they are at the beginning of the lesson and then circle where they are at the end of the lesson or series of lessons to accomplish the goal.
My students have really enjoyed digging into the standards with me, and several of them are telling me that they want to be teachers! When they have play time, some of them are practicing breaking down their own versions of the standards. It’s pretty precious! 🙂 I have firsties, and they are able to do it…so, I think this strategy would even be more impactful with bigger kids…and especially kids who are at risk in their academics. Try it in your classroom and let me know how it goes! 🙂