My PLC wrote a list of the key skills and concepts we want our students to know. The idea of these power standards is very powerful, but we sure made some mistakes along the way… and we keep finding more mistakes.
When we reflected on last year, we realized that we had written power standards, but we didn’t pay much attention to them after we put them on paper. We made a goal to make our power standards a priority: to teach them, to refer to them when designing and writing tests. We put them on posters that teachers and students could see. We wrote goals based on students mastering the power standards. We tracked student progress in mastering the power standards and we shared the results and planned interventions around them.
Now we’ve noticed that we don’t always remember what we meant by our power standards. For example, our current unit has these five power standards:
Graph dilations, reflections, and translations on the coordinate plane
Locate ordered pairs on the coordinate plane
Demonstrate the Pythagorean Theorem with pictures and models
Use nets and concrete models to calculate lateral surface area and total surface area
Calculate the volume of 3-dimensional figures
After we tested objectives 1 & 2, we asked ourselves, “Why did all coordinate transformations get a single power standard, and simply locating points on the coordinate plane got its own power standard.” Then we remembered some of the skills we meant to encompass in that second standard. We expect our students to recognize multiple representations (graphs, tables, equations, verbal descriptions, …). We want our students to be able to match a list of ordered pairs (or a table of x– and y-values) with a line graphed on the coordinate plane. We wanted to include that skill when we taught objective 2. But we forgot.
Perhaps we need to add some notes in our binder about each standard or include some sample questions. Or spend more time talking about them at the beginning of each unit.