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Standards Integration – A Challenge Worth Accepting

A friend of mine recently asked me to review a piece of curricula for some social studies content. My friend was not a teacher and had little professional development in the area of Standards Integration. The content fulfilled a social studies standard, however the material wasn’t being covered effectively. Many instructors struggled with the question of where to place this lesson into their curriculum as they were being pulled in so many directions. This conundrum left content that would be relevant for the majority of the student body to be utilized ineffectively or even worse, not used at all.

As I reviewed the lesson, I saw a great deal of content integrated across multiple subject areas. Content areas such as Geography, History, Civics and English were all being covered. Each content area was tied to a state standard, however the English section was lacking and became my central focus. As I had learned in a Teaching Social Studies class, the manner in which Standards are integrated could be the difference maker that allows instructors to cover both important content and required Standards. I was able to identify the large amounts of English Language Arts within this lesson and tied common core standards without compromising the content. What was left was a lesson focused on English Language Arts using social studies content to help achieve the standards.

My professional development allowed me to gain a great deal of insight into how standards can be integrated into any lesson. From simple instruction on how to navigate to more complicated topics such as rationale, a great deal of focus was placed on preparing us to be capable of handing Standards Integration. 

The task of Standards Integration however, was still quite a difficult one even though I was confident in my skills. From identifying each standard within the common core app on my phone to dissecting what each standard meant, I spent quite a bit of time integrating Standards into one single lesson plan.

The Partners4results software intends to try and help with this time consuming process. The software allows for viewing and mapping of Standards to lesson plans and assessments as they are being written. With the district identified standards at your fingertips, the need for flipping back a forth between multiple standards is eliminated. Additionally, Standards can be identified as Priority Standards or Supporting Standards helping teachers navigate and plan their instruction more efficiently. Lastly, our work with Success Criteria Statements allow teachers, students and parents to have the ability to better understand the complex language that Standards tend to bring.

I feel confident doing the work by hand but if we can have a more efficient way to plan our instruction, wouldn’t that benefit the students as they have more efficient and rich lessons to learn from?