At Decker Middle School we are using a Power Standards Protocol to choose those state standards that have the most bang for the buck. Since we are in Texas we don’t need no stinkin Common Core Standards, but you could do the same thing with those standards.
So, you’ve selected your power standards and you want to now do some project ideation. What I would say is that you have already missed some of the best project idea brainstorming time – if you have completed the Power Standards Protocol and you haven’t completed a project planning form while you were selecting the power standards. Let me show you what I mean.
Let’s say you are looking at selecting power standards for 6th grade English. Here is the form we are using to select our power standards. We look at what standards are to be covered during a set period (in this case 3 weeks). We look at whether the standard is a Readiness or Supporting standard. And then we look at how we have done on state standardized tests with these standards.
But the first and last conversations we have about those standards are a ranking of importance. Here is where you have the chance to have those tough discussions. Does the standard have endurance? Does it have leverage. How does it fit in the student’s readiness for deeper learning?
Now look at this form, from the Buck Institute, for planning your projects. Notice that there is a space for Content and Skills Standards to be addressed. You should have this form right next to you as you are addressing the conversations about ranking. When you are discussing endurance, leverage, and readiness you will, undoubtedly, talk about how you have presented and assessed each standard. You should also have discussed how important it will be in future classes.
This is where I envision someone saying, “What if we do…….?” POOF! You have an idea of what you want to do for the next project. And, you can start looking at the scaffolding based upon the other standards that need to be addressed during the project time frame.
The Project Planning Form is often forgotten when, ironically, you are planning for your subject area. Take the time to have a planning form with you whenever you are discussing your content. I would even say you should have one out as you are having discussions with other teachers about their content. You might discover a cross-curricular project lying in the conversation. That makes me think of a possible project, got to run……