Through this unit I have learned several valuable things about unpacking a standard and backwards mapping. This will help me going forward in my teaching career with preparing, planning, and mapping out units and lessons. Through the course of our study it has become more evident why standards are so important. For any grade level standards are the framework in which we are expected to teach. Without standards a teacher in one kindergarten classroom maybe doing things completely different than another teacher. With the lack of uniformity students would be getting different educations from different individuals every year. With standards however teachers are expected to teach a certain curriculum within a certain timeframe in order to best prepare students for future grade levels. Taking it a step further and diving into a standard can be overwhelming or broad. Through this unit we learned to look for student proficiencies when trying to understand a standard. These proficiencies can help guide the thinking for what you would like your students to achieve through the unit.
Assessments can also be vitally important when unpacking a standard or backwards mapping. Knowing how you would like to assess students on the topic or unit (formative, summative, etc.) as well as when to assess and what the assessment is aiming to gauge are all fundamental questions during the process of unpacking a standard or backwards mapping. During the course of the unit many small lessons will be taught including hands on interactive games where students are engaged while practicing the material. Through teacher observations I will be able to identify when a student is having difficulty with the material. During small group times like tier 2 math I will pull the students back to work with him further on the material. Taking a look at the standard through a backwards design was helpful to understand where I would like my students to eventually end up. The backward design flaws as such step one identify the desired results, step to identify evidence of learning and step three designed the instructional plan. Interestingly in this method the lesson plan actually comes last giving the teacher/lesson plan creator the ability do you think about a plan all the way through before preparing it.Prior to this lesson since I became a kindergarten teacher I had planned and prepared a bit differently. Last year and for the first half of this year I would think about the topic that we were going to teach I would look for ideas online for how to teach it I would use those ideas in addition to my own experience and then I would write the plan. Now with a better understanding of what backwards mapping is and how to unpack a standard I feel like I could make more effective lesson plans that leave my students in a better direction.
An interesting insight into the common core philosophy I noticed amongst our readings was the following quote “the first question for curriculum writers is not: What will we teach and when should we teach it? Rather the initial question for curriculum development must be goal focused: Having learned key content, what will students be able to do with it?” (McTighe, 2012)
Thank you for reading,
McTighe, J. (2012, December 06). Common Core Big Idea 4: Map Backward From Intended Results. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/common-core-map-backwards-jay-mctighe-grant-wiggins