M5U1A3 – Reflection on Standards and Backward Design

Standard

Before beginning this module, I didn’t factor organized standards like Common Core or WIDA into my lessons. I had goals and objectives, but in practice, they would be either daily or weekly. I like using standards when planning my classes because it helps lend a sense of continuity to the units and more cohesion overall.  The WIDA standards I plan to use this semester are focused and helpful, but broad enough that there’s a significant amount of room to customize them for my different classes. This is especially important as an EFL teacher, as I see 8 different classes of varying English ability.

The framework of a standard also makes it easy for me to clearly articulate what I want my students to do and master using daily objectives. Just like with rules and classroom management, the clearer the lesson’s instructions and purpose are, the better. Using the three parts of behavior, conditions, and criteria, the students quickly understand what they’re expected to do, how they’re going to do it, and how they will be assessed. Unpacking the standard allows me to identify beneficial learning activities early and refine them based on the classes’ progression. With the social and instructional WIDA standard for grade 4, I’ve already identified a class interview activity using recording equipment that I think could be very helpful.

Working backward from the WIDA standard is also helpful because I can design the assessments and activities to meet the overall goal. For example, a section of our book covers using present progressive tense to identify what someone is wearing. I can easily design an informal assessment using “picture stations.” The class rotates through the different stations and tells their group members what they see. I can get a sense of who has mastered this proficiency and who needs additional practice. In addition, a more formal assessment using a quiz can accomplish the same goal, and it will help my classes prepare for the upcoming midterm exam.

Once I selected the WIDA standards, the rest of the unit fell in place. I was initially a little frustrated because the Common Core standards, by grade level, were too difficult for my students. The WIDA standards seemed more approachable and adaptable. I plan to experiment with the different “Level” frameworks for my different classes to see where the best starting point is for each. I’ll implement the plan I created during this unit with my high-level grade 4s, then expand to all of my classes after the midterms.

References:

Hidden curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum

Jay McTighe and Associates. (2016). Jay McTighe and Associates: Educational Consulting. Retrieved April 8, 2017, from http://jaymctighe.com/resources/downloads/

WIDA. (2014). Search the ELP Standards – Detail. Retrieved April 04, 2017, from https://www.wida.us/standards/ELP_StandardDetail.aspx?es=101

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