Lesson Planning: Turning Standards into Learning Targets

Common Core Standards are rigorously robust. Each standard is so layered, that there are many things a student needs to master in order to be proficient with the standard. As a result, there are a multitude of ways to assess student proficiency for each standard. When looking for ways to teach the standards, it is important that teachers know how to break the standard down, turn it into learning targets, and assess it in every way possible to ensure proficiency.

Standard Diagram

Consider the picture above. In order to adequately teach a standard, a teacher must first understand the purpose of the terms and the roles they play. Here I have created an example breaking down an ELA Common Core Standard:

The Standard
RL.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

The Learning Targets

  • I will be able to determine a central idea of a text.
  • I will be able to analyze the development of a central idea over the course of the text.
  • I will be able to analyze how a central idea emerges over the course of the text.
  • I will be able to analyze how a central idea is shaped over the course of the text.
  • I will be able to analyze how a central idea is refined by specific details in the text.
  • I will be able to provide an objective summary of the text.

The Question Stems

  • What is the central idea of the text?
  • What is the main idea?
  • Which of the following events support the development of the central idea over the course of the text?
  • Cite textual evidence to support development of the theme over the text.
  • What key details from the text shape and refine the central idea over the course of the text?
  • Write an objective summary of the text?
  • Which of the following is an objective summary of the text?
  • Analyze the central idea and its development ove rthe course of the text.

The Activities
In order to adequately teach this standard, it is important that there are several learning activities tailored to each individual target. Furthermore, formative assessments must be as varied as the learning targets. If you are looking for ways to expand your resources, try Googling Common Core ELA Question Stems. What you will find is that there are several places where you can download question stems for each standard, at each grade level. Remember, it is not until you teach AND assess students on all parts of the standard that you truly understand their level of mastery.

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