I have a simple yet very effective way to make your classroom standards based. Before you do an activity in class, write out the standard for the students. Do not write the general standard category such as “ELA Standard 3” but write the general category and then the specific subpart such as “ELA Standard 3: Critical Analysis: Compare two works of literature in an essay” If you give the students a handout, have the standard listed on it. If you give them homework, write out the standard and have them copy it down (or have it available on your website/blog). Every project will contain the appropriate standard.
You can easily keep track of which standards you are covering by creating a Word chart or a spreadsheet. A quick glance at the chart/spreadsheet will tell you which you have covered so far. If you include a category for the class assessment on each subpart of the standard, then you can tell which areas need more attention and which have been “mastered”.
I find that if I am struggling to identify the standard for a future project, usually the project is not standards-based. I modify the activity to really be standards-based instead of somewhat standards-based. Likewise, if I find myself trying to assign several standards to the same activity, I stop and ask myself “What is the purpose of this activity? and “What am I going to assess?” If I don’t assess it, then it is not a critical standard for this activity. I find I often try to deceive myself into thinking I am do multiple standards, when, in fact, I am only do one.
So how do you make your class standards-based- be it academic standards or 21st century skills?
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007