The Bridge Between Students and Standards:
Constructing Avenues of Learning That Meet Standards and Honor
Thank You for joining us! In this session you will learn the importance of both standards
and individuals in the classroom. In addition, you will see multiple ways for you to
construct projects that not only meet standards, but also honor the individuality of your
students. Though the standards used in this presentation represent the Common Core
ELA Grade 7 standards, the practices and theories are applicable to any grade or subject.
If you would like to join in this presentation, or revisit it at your convenience, you can find
the Prezi at the link below:
1. Standards: As in any industry or field, the instructional standards laid out by the
Common Core are vital to the practice of teaching. These standards help insure that, at a
national level, educators are pushing students to perform at the highest level. Meeting
these standards is essential to the integrity of our profession, as well as building the
reputation of our education system on a national level.
2. Individuals: As teachers, we are asked to meet the same standards nationwide;
however, we are not given the same “rawmaterial.” There is no such thing as a
“standard” student. Students are unique individuals, and to think that there is a “standard”
way of teaching children at a national, state, district or even individualclassroom level is
absurd. Our students are not just the number they achieve on an EOG, and if we do not
make the uncovering and nurturing of each individual identity apart of the foundation of
our classroom, we have no hope of ever meeting the standards we so highly regard.
3. Identity: Our first priority in the classroom needs to be finding ways to uncover students’
personal identity. Our students represent a plethora of races, religions, cultures,
socioeconomic levels, interests, hobbies, gifts, talents, fears, struggles memories and so
much more. It is our job to make them aware of these nuances so that they can answer
questions like “Who am I” “Why do I matter”, because the answers to these questions is
what makes our content and standards relevant.
4. Voice: Once students find out who they are, they need to find their voice. This means
understanding how to express that identity within a system that seems overpowering and
farremoved. This includes sharing that identity within the classroom, as well as finding
ways for their voices to carry beyond the classroom walls.
5. Story: When students understand who they are, and how to share that identity within the
context of the world around them, they become eager to tell their story. Suddenly, they
understand that who they are, what they believe and what they have experienced matter,
and they want to tell people. Telling their story should be a huge part of education,
because it is from these stories that students acquire prior knowledge. These stories
explain why they are the way they are. They show how students have acquired skills and
account for their weaknesses. As teachers, these stories tell us what kids need, and how
to give it to them.
6. Conclusion: Building a classroom that meets standards and values individuals is not
easy. There is no “How To” guide or formula. It is a process that continues throughout the
whole year. Some students respond well and thrive immediately; others resist and seem
to wither, and this is ok. Engaging in this process is a worthwhile endeavor that will set
students on a path of selfdiscovery, on which learning and valuing learning is inevitable.
This enables students to master standards, find relevance in content and above all, value
themselves and their place in the learning process.