By S. Romero
As teachers, no matter what grade level we teach, we all rely heavily on our state standards. Our students’ academic success depends on how effectively those standards are delivered.
However, what I've learned from experience is that many times we as teachers don't quite understand how to properly or effectively implement those standards. Sometimes we teach them at a surface level without reaching the depth in which those standards need to be taught or we fail to make sure that our students are fulfilling those expectations to the fullest through the appropriate application. When this breakdown happens, we begin to teach without any real focus or purpose, we over-teach some things, or teach without relevance to the objective. And then we spend time wondering why our student's are not meeting expectations.
When looking at a standard, start by pulling out the nouns. The nouns are what it is YOU the teacher are expected to teach your students for that particular standard and subject matter. Next, pull out the verbs from that standard which are what your STUDENTS are expected to DO with that knowledge they were taught. For example:
Let's begin with a simple math standard.
Start by pulling out the nouns (the knowledge): halves, fourths, and eighths.
Now let's pull the verb. What are our students EXPECTED to do with that KNOWLEDGE? They are expected to identify.
It's not asking us to tell our students to build a model that shows a half, fourth or eighths. Although it may seem like an awesome idea, this is where we lose some of our students (over teaching). Of course once they mastered the standards expectation, then we can use those grandeur lesson ideas as extensions for learning.
That's it! If we learn to deconstruct and take a closer look at our standards, we will save lots of time in our teaching and our student's learning will be more meaningful and purposeful which will result in an a better outcome when they are assessed on those standards.
Here is another example:
Nouns (Knowledge): plot, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end of a story, events
Verb (DO with that knowledge): describe plot (problem and solution) and retell sequence of events (beginning, middle, and end).
Deconstructing the standards, we will not only teach our students what it is they are suppose to know for that grade level but also teach them what to do with that knowledge. Many times we only pull out the nouns and say..." I taught it!” But, the important question is, “Did our students learn the standard in its entirety?”