Activity 4: Blog post summary
By: Chad Boudreau
Standards and backwards mapping
I found this activity a good way to introduce the idea of what standards really are. This was my first time dealing with this notion and was somewhat shocked to see how little difference there was from state to state. Hearing about standardised tests and how much variance there is in respect to student aptitudes across the states I was sure that it was due to the different standards that were being used. Wrong, it is the way in which teachers or administrators unpacked these standards and implement strategies and assessment techniques. I found it interesting in this activity how logical and straight forward it was to be able to meet physical education standards. I think the problem with respect to aptitude variance is teachers deeming what is essential and sometimes ignoring the guidelines set forth by the standards which cause havoc with standardised testing methods.
Unpack a standard
This was a great example of scaffolding and induction style teaching; providing a foundation and familiarity with standards in the above activity then becoming more specific and adding a project based group learning element. This activity was something I thought was going to be a lot easier than it actually was. My standard, Understand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions, seemed simple enough; on the contrary, I had to read up on information relating to this topic. It was almost iceberg in nature and after fully understanding all of the concepts that were buried within this standard was I able to begin the task of unpacking it. I think this is where teachers become problematic with their teaching curriculum. You really have to take the time and understand all the different variables that can coincide with the standard. I have not taught in the American system but I can see how unpacking improperly can cause issues that will be seen on ST scores.
This is where this unit begins to shine in a sense, scaffolding towards the final goal of curriculum development. This was an interesting activity because it really gives you the feeling of freedom as an instructor. At my school there is little to no freedom when it comes to how standards are to be met. It is locked in and sad to say obsolete in a sense. I really enjoyed making the rubrics, although I’m not sure we were supposed to do that because you did say it was unnecessary in the VC, I saw everyone else was doing it so I followed suit out of fear. The interesting element was how specific you can become with what you want to asses. In reality you could make a rubric about five pages to cover all the possibilities. It was interesting to identify what skills were most necessary for the task at hand and provide a rubric accordingly. I really enjoyed have the power to create my lesson from scratch.