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Teacher's Guide to a Successful Classroom
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Curriculum - What all stakeholders should know....

What Are The Objectives......What is considered mastery?
It's important to know what objectives you are expected to teach and at what level of blooms your students need to apply the skill before it is considered mastered. Most districts will have a curriculum framework that you must follow. The curriculum is a non-negotionable - meaning that teachers do not have a choice on what to teach; however, they do get to make the decisions on how to teach the different objectives.

*If you don't have a list of the current objectives, they are easy to find by searching on Google. Various search terms include: state objectives, framework, student expectations, curriculum. (What they are called varies from state to state.)

Alabama Curriculum
Arizona Common Core Standards
Arkansas Curriculum Framework
California Standards & Framework
Louisiana State Student Expectations
Lead4ward has great resources for Texas Teachers.

Know the depth of your state test

With accountability hanging over us, we must all understand the level at which students' are tested. If we are teaching addition word problems at the basic level but it is tested using two step problems with extra information then we will have a surprise when the test results are returned. I'm not saying we need to teach the test as I don't believe we should hang that over our students' heads all year. I do believe that we have to teach the students to think at the level that the test is written. We need to understand our end destination (two step problems with extra information) if we plan on reaching it. 

Know the Prerequisite Skills For Your Curriculum

This one is a little more complicated. Teachers must be able to analyze the objectives they are teaching to determine what students must know before they can learn that particular objective. Example. If a student can't count he will not be able to add. I know! I know! that example was common sense, but as you get higher up in the curriculum this becomes more important and much more difficult. It is also necessary for a teacher to analyze a student's performance and determine why he or she isn't meeting the expectations. Let's look at a couple more examples.

Mrs. Jacobs is teaching a lesson on solving multi step word problems involving multiplication and division. What assumptions might we make about her students' current knowledge?

  • They can solve single step word problems involving multiplication and division.
  • They can determine when to multiply and when to divide when given a word problem.
  • They can multiply and divide.
  • They can read the problem.

Mr. Walsh is teaching a lesson in social studies and has assigned a worksheet on population. Students are to compare two charts that identify the population of various cities over a period of time. They must use these tables to complete questions including the following: 
Which City had the largest population in 1973? How much has the population of X increased between....

  • They can read a chart
  • They understand how to compare the two charts
  • They can compare numbers 
  • They understand that subtraction is needed to determine the increase of population
  • They can subtract large numbers with regrouping
Knowing this information will allow you to analyze each student's performance and determine what help
        they need to accomplish the skill. If we are just grading papers, assigning grades, and reteaching the original concept then we may be missing the big picture as to why the student is unsuccessful. Also, if we continue to teach the same skill in the same manner over and over we are wasting our time. We need to know our students
well enough to determine whether we need to change strategies or continue with the same strategy we have
been using. If we have a student that has short term memory issues we will have to practice the same strategy
over and over, day after day, until we get it into his longterm memory; however, if we have a student that just
can't grasp the strategy we are using then maybe we should show him a different one.

The following links are for the state vertical alignments. I'll be adding other states as the site develops. 

Alabama Vertical Alignment
STAAR ALT TEKS Vertical Alignment
Louisiana ELA Vertical Alignment 

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