O1 – – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes. This program standard focuses on teacher candidates aligning instruction to the learning standards and outcomes. This alignment will ensure that all students know the learning targets and can monitor their progress towards meeting them. It is especially important to reference the Common Core state standards and to align them with your instruction. The evidence presented concentrates on two state standards:
1) CCS RL 4.2 Determine the theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
2) CCS RL 4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, or drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
The evidence presented is a scaffold done over several days in order for students to make the connection between character traits and the authors theme of the story. Each lesson was aligned with either one or both standards. This helped maintain a lesson where the state standards and learning standards are unified. Additionally, the scaffolding provided students a method in which they can monitor their own progress towards the learning targets. Since each lesson required students to build off of what was learned previously, students are able to self-assess on their connections with the text.
This evidence shows a student sample of the progression of activities throughout the lessons which aligns with character traits and the theme of the story. Students were first asked to close read a text and make their think marks about the characters traits (speaks, thinks, acts, or feels). Then students were required to record evidence from the text where the character speaks, thinks, acts or feels. Students then used the newly found information to answer the question of what trait would best describe the character. With all this background knowledge in place, students were able to progress towards more in depth thinking. This in depth thinking was guided through careful questions in regards with the learning targets. Students were first asked to analyze if the character had changed, then what can you personally learn, and finally what is the authors theme. The learning objective for each lesson was reviewed and discussed prior to beginning the lesson activities. Organizing curriculum around standards provides direction for teachers as well as a focal point for students. I feel that the end result was a more precise lesson that focused on essential academic learning. This alignment made it clearer for student expectations and provided an opportunity for self-assessment. Since conceptually each lesson built on the previous one, students were quick to realize that if the previous activity was done inefficiently it would affect the following lesson. In the future, I will continue to align my instruction to state standards and continue to ensure students knowing the learning target and to monitor in some way their progress towards being successful at the learning target. The next step would be to emphasize and incorporate learning standards with some type of flow chart or anchor chart. We could add elements to our chart as we progress in our learning and place it where students can see it and reflect upon it daily. Students can use this as a tool for self-monitoring on learning targets.