Reflection: Understanding and Applying Standards

As a Catholic school teacher, I am given standards and the freedom to teach the standards anyway I would like. With this freedom comes great responsibility. Standards are a guide to my teaching, it is my responsibility to utilize the resources given to me, so the children have a rich education. In this unit, I have explored backwards mapping, objective writing and unpacking a standard. These are all great tools to use to make sure my students are fully grasping each standard.

I enjoyed looking more in depth and unpacking 2 standards from the Archdiocese of Washington. I learned that a standard can have more then one objective. It was interesting taking the standard apart and identify actions and ideas. Backwards mapping, I worked with an Archdiocese of Washington Science standard. (The Physical Setting: Students observe changes of Earth and the sky. They continue to explore the concepts of energy and motion.) I chose to work with this standard because Science is an area I need improvement on teaching. After taking apart the standard, I found it very easy to create lessons from the standards and find the “big ideas.” Backward mapping is a strategy I will be using regularly. I found it very satisfying to take a standard and create a full unit. I felt like I was being very thorough, covering every aspect. Backwards mapping was also fairly easy to complete. I must say at first I was very overwhelmed. I looked at a few examples online before beginning. In this unit I was also able to practice objective writing. I have to write objectives for my lessons every week. This is a weakness of mine. With this activity, I struggled to make clear and concise objectives for each activity. I found it difficult to describe what I wanted my kids to be able to do without explaining the activity. This will be something I will work on. “SMART” acronym is an easy way to remember all requirements.

I feel this module has been one of the most important thus far. Standards are a guide to the students learning and it is crucial I am comfortable with them. I look forward to changing the way I do lesson planning, to be a more effective teacch. I enjoyed the practice and feedback with the unit.



Planning and Preparation for Learning | Backwards Mapping

3rd Grade, Science

Topic: Changes of the Earth and Sky, Concepts of Energy and Motion

Standards: Archdiocese of Washington 3rd Grade Science Standards


Standard: Standard 3 – The Physical Setting: Students observe changes of Earth and the sky. They continue to explore the concepts of energy and motion.

I chose this standard because Science is a subject I can improve on the most. The students have an opportunity to complete hands on activities to better understand energy in motion. Students will be engaged with this standard and it makes me excited to teach it.

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Activity 1: Exploring Motion

Objective: Students will understand that a force, such as a push or a pull, puts objects and/or people into motion.

This lesson will allow students to learn outside on the playground. This activity will connect the concept of force and motion to their everyday lives.


As a class we will study the playground  and discuss each piece of playground equipment. We will discuss our new vocabulary , “push” and “pull.” We will observe students on the swings and act out motion of “push” and “pull.” Students will then have the opportunity to take their understanding and explore other playground equipment. 


push:exert force on (someone or something), typically with one’s hand, in order to move them away from oneself or the origin of the force.

pull: exert force on (someone or something), typically by taking hold of them, in order to move or try to move them toward oneself or the origin of the force.

energy: what is needed to make things move

motion: the change in position of an object in a certain amount of time

Informal Assessment: Observe students as they work in groups. Ask questions..

Why  have  you circled push on the see-saw?

What action do you complete on the see-saw to move?

Does it take energy to push your feet on the group?

Are you exerting force on the see-saw or ground?

Do you move when you exert force?

Activity 2: Observing Motion

Objective:Screenshot 2016-01-24 11.53.20 Students will gain an understanding of force, energy, motion, friction, and work as they manipulate objects. Students will think about the causes and effects of the motion created while completing “Motion Mission” tasks.

Activity: Students complete each mission task using the objects provided with a group. Students then use their critical thinking skills to record their thoughts and answers to the questions in their Motion Mission Notebook.

Students will have the opportunity to discover the different kinds of force. Students will observe how items move differently and react to different kinds of force.


push:exert force on (someone or something), typically with one’s hand, in order to move them away from oneself or the origin of the force.

energy: what is needed to make things move

motion: the change in position of an object in a certain amount of time

Force: strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.

Friction: strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.

Assessment: After completing this activity students will complete a reflection. Students will demonstrate their understand on the vocabulary terms above. Example questions below.

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Activity 3: Friction and Force

Screenshot 2016-01-24 12.21.59.pngObjective:Students will participate in a science experiment and complete a lab report on the effect of friction. Students will gain understanding that friction is a force that can slow down objects in motion.

Activity: Students will create a construction paper “road” and sandpaper “road.” Students will observe how far the toy go with the same amount of force. Students will complete this science experiment and gain understanding of how friction plays a part in motion.

Formal Assessment: Students will take a written assessment to scope their progress on completing the standard. In addition to below I can ask the students more in depth questions. Students could write when “friction” could be helpful or when on they playground they used “force.”

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After working so hard at the beginning of the year to enforce rules and procedures….. the real work begins. Research has shown it is important to reward positive behavior and create consequences for negative behavior. With such a busy day it becomes difficult to persistent. It’s important for students to know the teachers expectations and to give encouragement to choose the right behavior, every single day.


Positive reinforcement is crucial in a classroom. It not only encourages students to follow rules/procedures but also creates a atmosphere where students can be their best!   Positive reinforcement can be recognizing the whole class for a job well done or individual students. Immediate positive acknowledgment can include high fives, thumbs up, thanking the student or “brain bucks” for the classroom store. Non immediate positive consequences can include notes home and morning post-it notes.

In third grade, we have a reward systems that ties to our Economic unit. Students receive a wallet at the beginning of the year. When students are spotted using their brain, including behaving correctly or going above and beyond, they earn “brain bucks.” These “brain bucks” can be used for the end of the month classroom store. Handing students the paper slip allows them to see their behavior being recognized. It is also very easy for me to hand them out and use it regularly. Students can either save the money  at the classroom store or spend it. Students must save their money for the bigger items. Students get paid for doing their classroom job and must pay with a check rent for their desk.

I find that positive reinforcement keeps the morale up in the classroom and creates students where they are proud of themselves. I do think that having just positive reinforcement in the classroom is not enough. Good behavior should be recognized but poor behavior can’t just be ignored.


Students poor behavior needs to be acknowledged so a change can be made. Ignoring students who are not following directions or procedures is encouraging the behavior being done. Consequences for poor behavior is important but can be done incorrectly. Students do not respond to yelling or embarrassment. Consequence for poor behavior can be non verbal including tapping the child on the shoulder, standing close, tapping the child’s desk or giving a look. Verbal consequences are speaking to the child in private, wittiness, giving a warning or having the child write a note to their parents.

The easiest way stop poor behavior from getting to out of hand is using your own wittiness. Being aware of everything going on in the classroom and stopping a behavior right away. Students realize they are being watched and can’t get away with silliness.

I believe their are levels of poor behavior and teachers do respond in different ways. Nonverbal warnings are usually the first step and then students get spoken to by the teacher. The best teachers handle misbehaving students with seriousness and compassionate. The teachers also don’t get flustered by the students.