Friday, 9 September 2016

Applying and Understanding Standards

Applying and Understanding Standards

This unit was very enlightening. At the moment, I am transitioning into a role as primary classroom teacher for the first time in my career. Having no formal educational training certificate, I often feel ill-equipped to handle lesson planning. Unpacking objectives is beneficial to me because it allows me to simplify objectives and standards that seem daunting at first.

When reviewing standards for my class, I often find the language to be complex and off-putting. I wish they could be written for the layman, and spelled out for ease of use. That is a benefit of unpacking a standard; the language becomes clear and so do your goals. When unpacking my English standard, I thought “What do the students need to be able to do to meet the standard?” I tried to interpret the language using the verbs as checkpoints, and found that if I compared them to my own knowledge and upbringing, I could find a way to make sense of each standard. This helped me define the standards in ways that would lead me to search for games and activities that related to those standards in different ways.

Backwards mapping is a strategy I would like to use in the future. Many of my students are graduating preschool in September of 2017, and they will be expected to arrive in first grade with experience in English, math, and other basic skills. Starting from the end allows me to set benchmarks and derive the core of each objective. For example, for my students to ultimately be well-versed in the ABC’s, they need daily exposure to the alphabet in all of its forms: speaking, listening, reading, writing. They need to associate sounds with symbols. These are are simple things that can be repeatedly worked into games and other activities.

Ever since we started discussing SMART objectives in the previous module, I’ve tried to consider each of my objectives in that way. As a preschool teacher, I have very basic benchmarks, but they can still fall short if ignored or neglected. With little oversight, it is up to myself to help my children attain these goals. Once my Japanese students enter primary school, they will only study English one-two times a month for less than an hour. That means they need as much immersion as possible now, so they can retain those skills. This leads me to put a stronger emphasis on English than math, without neglecting either subject. It means I choose to work English into math lessons to get the greatest mileage out of my lessons.

If my students graduate to elementary school and go on to lead normal, happy lives there, I’ll consider my job done. If they do it while using the English they learned in my classroom, I’ll consider my job a success.

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