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Overview of Content Standards

Overview of Content Standards

Author: Gino Sangiuliano

This lesson provides students with the ability to locate and utilize content standards in objectives and I can statements

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Hello everyone. I hope you're having a great day. Welcome to today's lesson, it's called an Overview of Content Standards. So let's not waste any time and get started right away.

I think that children of all ages know about content standards and what they mean. You don't believe me? Watch any child play a video game. As they make their way to levels of competency they reach new plateaus before acquiring new knowledge and skills that will help them to get to the next level. They take risks, they collaborate with friends, they research tips and tricks, then they try again.

Their failures are not failures at all, they're formative assessments that help them ultimately meet their challenges. They know what needs to be done and do what it takes to get there. Students in schools should have that feeling too.

Let's begin by defining what content standards are. They're the knowledge and skills students are expected to master. The purpose of these content standards is to guide teachers in planning instruction. And these content standards are used to build objectives and "I can" statements.

Here's how one might take a content standard and build an objective and an "I can" statement. This example comes from the Next Generation Science Standards at the secondary level. The statement is for kids to know that all cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA molecules. Genes are regions in DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins which carry out most of the work cells.

I'm not going to pretend to know what that means, because I do not. However, the objective that a teacher could form from this standard would be that students could use evidence from lab work and class readings to illustrate the structure of protein. Including in their explanation, students could demonstrate an understanding of life functions occurring through the systems of specialized cells.

Simply put, an "I can" statement from this would be, "I can construct an explanation based on evidence of how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins." That's a little bit more to my liking.

The subject and grade level may change, but using standards this way is essentially the same. Here's a standard taken from the Common Core grade one that reads, students need to be able to distinguish between defining attributes-- for example, triangles are closed and three-sided-- versus non-defining attributes, for example, color, orientation, and overall size. Build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes. The objective from this standard might be for students to use color pattern blocks and sort them by shape based on certain defining attributes. And the teacher could really go over this very easily with the students by saying, I can understand and tell about the parts that make different shapes unique.

Using standards does not come without its controversy. Proponents will point to the fact that creating a set of content standards will raise the bar for students. They'll also say that it will establish clear, consistent goals, class to class, school to school, and even among states. Finally, implementation of standards makes all stakeholders accountable to programs being used, as well as teaching methodologies being practiced.

Opponents will point to the fact that if not implemented with fidelity it'll have a negative impact. Another criticism is that some standards are not clear. They also say that they don't take into account individual circumstances such as geographical location, background knowledge, and cultural differences. These are many of the same arguments used by those who oppose Common Core.

If you want to learn more about content area standards, this page will help you find out where. Listed are Common Core math, ELA, the NGSS, or the Next Generation Science Standards, the Historical Thinking Standards, and the World Language Standards.

As more and more districts move toward standard based instruction, here are some final thoughts. Common Core standards do not exist for history and science. Common Core has literacy stands for history and science beginning at the secondary level, however. These are different than the history and science standards themselves. And the focus of literacy standards is informational reading, writing, speaking, listening, and research skills, all things that are necessary for college and career readiness.

Let's go ahead and summarize what we covered in today's lesson. We defined the term "content standard." We looked at a secondary and an elementary example of building an "I can" statement using standards. We looked at the pros and cons of standards. We listed some places where you can find more information about the standards and the standards themselves. And finally, cleared up some common misconceptions.

Here's today's food for thought. Take some of the standards that you teach and translate them into kid friendly "I can" statements. This exercise will surely help you gain a better understanding of them. If you teach older students, try doing this exercise with them.

For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanied this presentation. The additional resources include hyperlinks useful for application of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

That's all for now. Thanks for watching, we'll see you next time.

Notes on "Overview of Content Standards"

(00:00-00:10) Intro

(00:11-00:49) Gaming Story

(00:50-01:05) Definition of Content Standards

(01:06-01:43) Secondary Example

(01:44-02:05) Elementary Example

(02:06-02:46) Scoring Online Work

(02:47-03:33) Pros and Cons

(03:34-03:51) Finding Standards

(03:52-04:20) Final Thoughts/Misconceptions

(04:21-04:48) Summary

(04:49-05:25) Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Common Core State Standards Initiative

The official web site for the Common Core ELA and Math Standards. This web site is an easy to navigate portal including the ELA anchor standards; standards by grade; Literacy Standards for History and Social Studies; Literacy Standards for Science and the technical areas; Math practice standards; and math standards by grade. In addition to the complete set of standards, this site includes the appendices to the standards which include student work samples, suggested texts, implementation guidance, and instructional strategies.

Common Core State Standards: Implementation Tools and Resources

This site provides resources on Teaching with the Common Core State Standards which is great implementation tool for teachers who are integrating Common Core Standards into their lessons and instruction.