First Few Steps in my SBG Journey

Step #1: Creating the Standards - I spent a couple days this past summer with the two other social studies teachers in my school to create our standards and begin work on the rubrics for these standards. My school has really tried to align our standards with the Common Core Standards, but those standards for social studies has not come out. We tried to think of the skills that we would like to see in our geography and U.S. history classes.

  • Hardest Part: trying to think about skills instead of content that we wanted kids to know
  • Advice: read Fair isn't Always Equal and research what other schools use for their standards
Step #2: Creating the Rubrics - This was my first mistake... the school year started and the rubrics where not finalized. My department went through so many drafts and we were so hung up on trying to make the wording perfect. I swear we could have revised these rubrics for years, but as most of you teachers probably already know you just need to start using a rubric to see what you need to change about it.

  • Hardest Part: finding that fine line between being too specific and too broad 
  • Advice: make sure that you have this in place before the school year begins so that you can spend the first few days helping the kids to really understand the rubric
Step #3: Using SBG in the curriculum - I have heard this phrase a lot, but I didn't understand it fully until this year... "let the standards guide the curriculum". I am realizing that I cannot use all of my assignments and projects as they are from years past. I had to look at these and see if they are focused on our standards and if they didn't then we aren't doing them this year.

  • Hardest Part: realizing that some of the things you have had students do in the past are not what is important now
  • Advice: look at everything that you are planning to do in class and ask "what standard does this relate to?"... you might even want to write the standard that it addresses at the top of each assignment/project

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