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Focus: Morning Minutes, May 17, 2016

So, though not completely settled on whether these are final, here is my in-the-works list of standards that will be at the core of our academic work next year. I have come to call them “super standards” (as you have probably come to realize, alliteration does it for me), but they are often referred to as “power” or “focus” standards. While these do not reflect all that we will learn or digest, they do reflect the main course upon which my kids will frequently feast. The goal here is competence, not coverage, and that is why there are only ten. They will inform and drive the practice and performance opportunities and experiences in my classroom.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the standards are derived mostly from the Common Core State Standards, but I have also taken into consideration my experience as a classroom teacher, which I hope helps with translating the standards into classroom-and-student-friendly learning targets, their current manifestation. As such, they are both general (I can use effective speaking skills to engage an audience) and specific (I can use parallel structure). The latter seems out of place compared to the rest, but it is almost guaranteed to be on the state assessment–as I painfully discovered this year. It was on the test, but we had not covered it, and while I resist becoming a slave to the test, I am not okay when my students find themselves in situations unprepared. Fortunately, it only represented a teeny fraction of the assessment, so I don’t believe that any ships will sink as a result. But it certainly caught my attention. Of course, I will always face the dilemma of what will be on the test versus what will actually matter in the end, so I will live and learn and adapt as necessary. That, it seems, is simply what I do. Do. Reflect. Do Better.

Super-Student Standards

  1. I can determine the theme or central idea of a text.

  2. I can analyze a text for speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone (SOAPSTone)

  3. I can distinguish between analysis and summary and demonstrate proficiency with both in my responses to text.

  4. I can integrate cited text evidence into my writing to support my thinking.

  5. I can successfully complete all parts of the writing process.

  6. I can construct an effective argument.

  7. I can achieve the big-six, real-world writing purposes.

  8. I can use effective speaking skills to engage an audience.

  9. I can identify, use, and avoid errors with a variety of clauses and phrases.

  10. I can use parallel structure.

Happy Tuesday, all. Feedback is ever-welcome. Have a splendid day.


4 Replies to “Focus: Morning Minutes, May 17, 2016”

  • Honestly I thought the way we prepared for that test, was very effective. I mean your right we didn’t prepare for it earlier in the year but yet we still did do a review? I guess you would call it but that’s how I saw our preparation for it. It’s like you said, its mostly about what we are getting out of it and what is really important.

  • Yes! As a fellow educator and a future parent-of-one-of-your-potential-students, I love this list! Can I just throw in a thought about parallel structure? #9 is about avoiding grammar errors –crucial to being clear and understood. But #10 is about syntax– that level of language use where we get to style, sound, smoothness. I could not care less about the test, but I love the idea of showing students how polished their prose can be– how it can sing– and having them strive for that.

  • Love this idea. As a fellow Superman fan, I especially love the branding of it. I think I can do this for my class and post them. Thanks for the great idea.

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