Saturday, October 6, 2012

5 BIG ideas from CCSS

This post is a summary/adaptation from Wiggins/McTighe article on 5 big ideas.

1.  Read carefully
AH-HA Moment: DON'T turn directly to YOUR grade level.  You'll miss the point.  READ THE WHOLE THING!
  • Long term outcomes are in mind so the components are intended to work together.
  • Educators need to understand the internt and structure of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Read the "front matter"
  • What is the instructional emphasis?
  • If you don't read the CCSS and don't understand the CCSS, you'll think it's the same old stuff, IT'S NOT 

2.  Standards does not equal curriculum

  • "A Standard is an outcome, NOT a claim about how to achieve the outcome."
  • "Standards are like building codes.  Architects and builders must attend to them but they are NOT the purpose of the design."
  • "Development of important capabilities in the learner as a result of engaging and effective work."
  • Keep long term educational goals in mind
  • Standards are ingredients to a recipe more than they are the final meal
  • Standards are rules to the game rather than the strategy

ASIDE:  We are looking at "curriculum" wrong.  
We are looking at it as what is to be "covered,"
 as opposed to what is to be LEARNED.

3.  Unpacking required

  • Read the document!
  • Unpack the standards into categories:
    • Long-Term Transfer Goals - "effective uses of content, knowledge and skill both inside and outside of the classroom"
    • Overarching Understandings - Key needs for students
    • Overarching Essential Questions - Key skills or behaviors of how students interact with new problems
    • Cornerstone Tasks - curriculum embedded tasks that are intended to ENGAGE students in applying knowledge and skills ON THEIR OWN.
AH-HA MOMENT: This understanding of "cornerstone tasks" inspired me to write the next blog post pending.
  • This "unpacking" is intended at a district or "macro" level as they call it.  Using the whole span of learning for students or within a specific program (in my case science or social studies).
  • Unpacking DOES NOT mean make a checklist

4.  Backwards design is essential

  • Curriculum in Latin means: Course to be run...
  • Ralph Tyler purpose for standards: "to indicate the kinds of changes in the student to be brought about....thus... standards provide content headings"
  • Don't think about what we teach and when we teach it but through the lens of "having learned the key content, what will students be able to do with it."
  • Curriculum is designed to develop INDEPENDANT transfer in students
  • To "assume the layout of the CCSS implies a chronology is flawed thinking"

AH-HA MOMENT: Thinking of standards as discrete skills or concepts leads to "coverage mentality" and reveals a misconception that teaching bits in a logical and specified order will somehow add up to the desired achievements called for in the standards."

  • "a curriculum envisioned and enacted as a set of maps of content and skill coverage will simply not by itself develop a students's increasingly autonomous capacity to USE learned content effectively to address complex tasks and problems."
  • Math CCSS say: "just because topic A comes before topic B doesn't mean" it has to when you teach
AH-HA MOMENT: "You can only say you have fully understood and applied your learning when you can do it without someone telling you what to do."

5.  Assessments are key

  • Standards don't specify learning goals
  • Standards qualities of student work
  • Standards tell us the degrees of rigor that is assessed
  • The appendices are the most important part of the CCSS
  • Cultivating and curating examples of student work will help illustrate qualities of performance
  • Design Backwards:
    • Develop Cornerstone tasks influenced by Content and CCS Standards
    • Use Standards-based assessments
    • Develop rigorous rubrics
    • Use annotated work samples

In Summary: This is not your same old grade level expectations, there are new ways of looking at and thinking about student learning.

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