- The Standards of Learning for Virginia public schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, world language, health/physical education and driver education.
- The curriculum frameworks of Chesterfield County Public Schools, which are on CNET, are aligned with the Standards of Learning. Our curriculum frameworks amplify the Standards of Learning and define the essential content knowledge, skills and understandings that are measured by the SOL tests.
- Our curriculum frameworks contain a wealth of resources for our teachers including
- pacing guides
- essential knowledge, skills and understandings
- model lessons
- The curriculum frameworks of Chesterfield County Public Schools are our go-to guide for planning and delivering effective instruction aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.
The Curriculum and Instruction team for Chesterfield County Public Schools guarantees that our curriculum frameworks are aligned with the Virginia Department of Education standards. But this guarantee is only valid for our written curriculum. Curriculum alignment occurs when what a teacher is teaching, how it is taught and how it is tested are aligned with a Standard of Learning curriculum framework found on CNET. When a teacher closes the classroom door, the taught curriculum begins and ends.
Once you have reviewed the frameworks for the content, context and cognitive level (read the previous blog on the written curriculum), begin to plan your assessment (we’ll save the topic of assessments for our next blog!). After planning your assessment, teachers must think of ways to teach the standards in rigorous and relevant ways.
To help you identify high-impact strategies to teach the written curriculum, take a look at the research done by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning. From this work, Robert Marzano identified nine instructional strategies that are most likely to improve student achievement. The chart to the left not only identifies the strategy but also highlights the average percentile point gains on student achievement tests when teachers regularly use a particular strategy in the classroom:
Begin to design your lessons that target these nine strategies:
- Identifying Similarities and Differences helps students understand more complex problems by analyzing them in a simpler way.
- Use Venn diagrams or charts to compare and classify items.
- Engage students in comparing, classifying and creating metaphors and analogies.
- Summarizing and Note-taking promotes comprehension because students have to analyze what is important and what is not important and put it in their own words.
- Provide a set of rules for asking students to summarize a literary selection, a movie clip, a section of a textbook, etc.
- Provide a basic outline for note-taking, having students fill in pertinent information.
- Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition showing the connection between effort and achievement helps students see the importance of effort and allows them to change their beliefs to emphasize it more. Note that recognition is more effective if it is contingent on achieving some specified standard.
- Share stories about people who succeeded by not giving up.
- Find ways to personalize recognition. Give awards for individual accomplishments.
- “Pause, Prompt, Praise.” If a student is struggling, pause to discuss the problem, then prompt with specific suggestions to help her improve. If the student’s performance improves as a result, offer praise.
- Homework and Practice provide opportunities to extend learning outside the classroom but should be assigned based on relevant grade level. All homework should have a purpose and that purpose should be readily evident to the students. Additionally, feedback should be given for all homework assignments.
- Establish a homework policy with a specific schedule and time parameters.
- Vary feedback methods to maximize its effectiveness.
- Focus practice and homework on difficult concepts.
- Nonlinguistic Representations have recently been proven to stimulate and increase brain activity.
- Incorporate words and images using symbols to represent relationships.
- Use physical models and physical movement to represent information.
- Cooperative Learning has been proven to have a positive impact on overall learning. Groups should be small enough to be effective, and the strategy should be used in a systematic and consistent manner.
- Group students according to factors such as common interests or experiences.
- Vary group sizes and mixes.
- Focus on positive interdependence, social skills, face-to-face interaction and individual and group accountability.
- Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback provides students with a direction. Objectives should not be too specific and should be adaptable to students’ individual objectives. There is no such thing as too much positive feedback, however, the method in which you give that feedback should be varied.
- Set a core goal for a unit, then encourage students to personalize that goal by identifying areas of interest to them. Questions like “I want to know …” and “I want to know more about …” get students thinking about their interests and actively involved in the goal-setting process.
- Use contracts to outline the specific goals that students must attain and the grade they will receive if they meet those goals.
- Make sure feedback is corrective in nature; tell students how they did in relation to specific levels of knowledge. Rubrics are a great way to do this.
- Generating and Testing Hypotheses: It’s not just for science class! Research shows that a deductive approach works best, but both inductive and deductive reasoning can help students understand and relate to the material.
- Ask students to predict what would happen if an aspect of a familiar system, such as the government or transportation, were changed.
- Ask students to build something using limited resources. This task generates questions and hypotheses about what may or may not work.
- Cues, Questions and Advanced Organizers help students use what they already know to enhance what they are about to learn. These are usually most effective when used before a specific lesson.
- Pause briefly after asking a question to give students time to answer with more depth.
- Vary the style of advance organizer used: Tell a story, skim a text or create a graphic image. There are many ways to expose students to information before they learn it.
Make it your goal this next week to begin to incorporate at least one of these high-impact strategies into your delivery of instruction. Respond to the blog and let us know how the strategy worked and if your students responded in a positive way. I’ll randomly choose 10 teachers who respond to this post to receive a copy of Marzano’s book, “Classroom Instruction That Works.”
Check out my Pinterest Board on Marzano