1. Preparing for the Fall Semester: What Do You Want to Share?
  2. Instructional and Assessment Technology to Prepare for Your Fall Semester
  3. Preparing Teachers for Standards-Based Lesson Planning
  4. Preparing for the Fall Semester: Aligning Instruction to Standards
  5. Technology in Coaching to Decrease Pre-service Educator Stress
  6. Boom-ing into Data Collection
  7. Accessibility Checker for Slides
  8. Technology to Support Executive Function Skills
An overhead view of a person working at a desk with colored pencils, paper, a phone, and a computer.

Preparing Teachers for Standards-Based Lesson Planning

Author: Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

One fundamental skill all pre-service teachers learn is how to plan. The Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards explain that it is important that teachers plan effectively for every student. Specifically, InTASC Standard 7 (Planning for Instruction) indicates that “The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.” This standard further breaks down into specific expectations for teacher performances, essential knowledge, and critical dispositions when planning for instruction. For example, teachers are expected to create learning experiences appropriate for curriculum goals and content standards, know how to adjust plans based on assessment information, and value planning as a collaborative activity. 

You may find several different templates and structures for standards-based lesson planning, but there is a certain level of emphasis put on this activity universally. There are several resources for in-service teachers or pre-service teachers completing their practicum to help them organize their lessons and track content standards (e.g., Common Core State Standards [CCSS], College and Career Readiness Standards [CCRS]) they cover. Some resources include Common Curriculum, Chalk Planboard, and PlanbookEdu. However, one area that can be further explored is resources that walk pre-service and in-service teachers through the creation of standards-aligned lesson plans. In this blog, we will introduce several resources that teacher educators can use to support pre-service teachers in planning for standards-based instruction. 

Achieve the Core

Achieve the Core provides free resources and supports geared towards in-service teachers and professional development, but can easily be used as an exercise for pre-service teachers and those completing their practicum experiences. The “Planning for Instruction” section of their site is broken into practice and content. Within the “Practice” section, supports include “Instructional Practice Guide”, the “Lesson Planning Tool” , and “Learning Supports”. The interactive “Lesson Planning Tool” prompts educators through guiding questions about content, structure, and activities to create a college and career readiness standards-aligned lesson. And, these are just SOME of the resources provided.

Jumping into the Lesson Planning Tool

The “Lesson Planning Tool”, available for English/ language Arts (ELA) and math, has six modules. Users are directed to “Planning a Standards Aligned Lesson” first where they are asked questions and given prompts and guidance to formulate a standards-based lesson. These lessons are aligned to the college and career ready standards. After, there are five modules they can work through that provide guiding questions as well as offer explanations and support in completing them. Completed lessons can be printed or shared.

A screenshot of the Lesson Planning Tool showing factors of text complexity.
A screenshot of the Lesson Planning Tool showing learning goals.
A screenshot of the Lesson Planning Tool showing rigor.

Coaching with the Instructional Practice Guide

Lessons created within the Achieve the Core site can be exported in the “Instructional Practice Guide” format, which is perfect for conferencing and reflecting. Pre-service teachers can share these lessons with practicum supervisors, cooperating teachers, or university professors as their instructional coaches and use the provided document as a means of guiding conversation. The instructional coaches are able to use the guide to observe and critique lesson plans with a provided rubric to evaluate the lesson;  They can also provide notes and extra resources to support pre-service teachers. After the rating is done, the site provides a “Beyond the Lesson” conversation support for debriefing.

Sounds Perfect, What Are the Drawbacks?

The tool is perfect for creating college and career readiness standards-aligned lessons but does not provide explicit directions for creating accommodations for learners with diverse needs. This could be something that the professor adds to the conversation or asks pre-service teachers to include in the text boxes, but it is not embedded within the system. A recent article describes how to align the college and career readiness standards to the mul-titiered systems of support (MTSS) framework by exploring the key skills required of each standard and providing suggested actions to improve outcomes for all students, including those with disabilities.  Suggestions and resources provided in the article can guide conversations with pre-service teachers about how to adjust plans and enhance inclusion and accessibility when planning for instruction. The article highlights the need for collaboration between personnel, which aligns to InTASC Standard 7.

What are Your Thoughts?

No matter what preparation standards your program adopts, it is important to prepare pre-service teachers for planning standards-aligned lessons that meet rigorous goals of individual learners. What tools do you use to help your students learn to create standards-aligned lessons? As you are planning for the fall semester, what are your must-have lesson organizing tips for faculty who are new to this area? We want to hear about it in our community!  Join the CIDDL community and keep the conversation going!