Know The Materials: Why Spend Time Looking for Something You Already Have?

November 27, 2017 by Literacy Blog 66 Views

I'm always thinking about what I need to do and how to structure my instructional support to best assist teachers in an effort for them to support students. Until recently, I’d been trying to do this all from scratch, which led to lots of sleepless nights as a result of hours and hours of planning and searching the internet for quality lessons and resources. Recently it hit me: I don't need to look elsewhere, such as Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers, to assist teachers with creating lessons every day in order to support the students in their classrooms!


Instead, by knowing the material in our District’s curriculum map, including texts, and knowing their students through formative assessments, teachers can make adjustments and tweaks to existing resources and best serve their students without having to recreate the wheel. By understanding data and the lessons and units in our curriculum, teachers can see which standards and skills they need their students to learn. Knowing the curriculum and knowing their students means that they can tweak and adjust the material to better serve each student in their classrooms.

A perfect example of when it hit me that the curriculum map has all teachers need is when I had the opportunity to assist an 11th grade teacher with preparing to teach “Hamlet”. I began “googling”, looking for activities to assist with “Hamlet”; however, as I began to dig into the curriculum map, I found that there was information provided to help support teachers as they planned for “Hamlet”. I found LearnZillion! This was already aligned to the curriculum and standards the District provided. I was able to create a free log in at www.learnzillion.com, and begin reviewing lessons and activities.

I offer some ideas on how to know the materials AND your students:

  • Know the materials.
    Building a shared understanding of the lessons and units in our curriculum helps teachers to see which standards and skills they need their students to learn.

  • Know the students through good assessment practice including data collection.
    • Where are we?
    • What does the data tell me?
    • How will I respond to the evidence?

      When teachers take the time to collect and review data – even if it’s only on a specific point or two – their next day and next week of instruction is richer and connects more directly to student needs.

  • Set goals and a timeline.
    By looking at the data, teachers are able to set goals, adjust the lessons to meet these goals, improve lessons to meet these standards, and set “look fors.”

  • Determine success criteria.
    • How will I know we met the goal?

  • Plan instructional strategies and adjust curriculum to meet goal.

    For additional information, you can visit https://vlp.scsk12.org/ela and review documents that offer guidance on this or you can reach out to your Instructional Support Advisor for further assistance.
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