School and district based personnel often ask us for guidance in helping teachers understand how to structure, or plan for, standards-focused instruction, as opposed to textbook-driven instructional design. We refer these people to the sample standards-focused units, as well as standards-focused PBL units, found on the Teach 21 site. These designs are built using the process we advocate here.
We recommend that principals receive professional development to help them understand (1) the process of clustering objectives to form a solid standards-based unit of study; (2) the significance of identifying individual learning targets within objectives; and (3) the importance of identifying the evidence the teacher will accept that students have mastered each learning target. By thinking through this process for a unit they are currently teaching, our teachers can demonstrate to the principal that they have a clear understanding of standards-based instructioinal design. When teachers struggle with this process, we know it is imperative we provide those teachers with professional development relevant to this process.
We use a similar process when asking teachers to identify the 21st Century skills and objectives integrated into their units of study. By asking the teachers to (1) identify the targeted learning skill and technology tool objectives for the same unit of study; (2) describe the teaching strategies they will employ to be sure students have acquired those skills and (3) having them cite the evidence they will collect that students have mastered the identified skills, we can identify teacher proficiency with integrating the 21st century skills into their instructional designs. Again, when teachers struggle with this process, we know it is imperative we provide those teachers with professional development relevant to this process.
The following documents can assist you in leading this activity at your school:
You may view the complete Mathematics 6 unit of study titled More for Your Money, written by Brenda Friend, on the Teach 21 site.