Breaking Down Learning Standards

Whew!! Have you ever been so overwhelmed reading a TEK or Readiness standard, and you had no clue on where to begin?…

I was once where you are; however, I have a way to simplify your problem and bring the joy back to lesson planning.

Follow these few steps and you will be a master at breaking down learning standards and creating objectives your students will understand and grasp.
Since I started my career as a Texas Educator, I will be using Texas TEKs for example purposes.

You’ll need the following:

1. Learning Standards (Each state has a different name for their learning standards; however all educators have access to their state standards through state education website or app)

2. Year at a Glance (This is a breakdown of what unit should be covered, the learning standards included in that unit, and how long you have to cover it.)
Here’s an example of what a YAG may look like: 5th-6wk-yag-revised

The first thing you want to do is look at your year at a glance and check the time frame you have to cover a unit. This is important because it helps you organize your lessons properly.

To guide you, I’m going to use a previous unit that I taught.

Unit 07: Structure and Function of Cells (23 days for the entire unit)
LS or TEKs: 7.1A, 7.1B, 7.3A, 7.3B, 7.3C, 7.4A, 7.12C, 7.12D, 7.12F

Now out of all these learning standards, the main learning standards to cover are 7.12C, 7.12D, and 7.12F. The other learning standards are secondary standards such as lab safety, using a microscope, and etc. This will be included during the lesson planning component.
What I like to do is give each standard 5-6 days depending on complexity; some standards do not require as much time. These days allow the opportunity to review and reteach.
Here’s an example of what this looks like when I write it out:
Unit 02: Flow of Energy (13 days entire unit)
TEK 7.5A- 8.22.16-8.25.16 (4 days)
TEK 7.5C- 8.26.16-8.30 (3 days)
TEK 7.5B- 8.31-9.8.16 (6 days)
Friday weekly quizzes.
Review for Unit Test 9.9.16 and Unit Test 9.12.16.

Learning Standards can be super complex, but they do not have to be. When you do your lesson plan, it should include your learning standard and objective. The objective is your break down of that standard.
For example:
TEK 7.12F: Recognize that according to cell theory all organisms are composed of cells, and cells carry on similar functions such as extracting energy from food to sustain life.
Whew!!! There’s no way your students will get this at once so you have to decide what is important. I started with this TEK or LS because it is the foundation of the entire unit; In order for my students to become familiar with the structure and function of cells and organelles, they must understand how this came into existence.
I have underlined the important components of this standard. Now, we can break down this learning standard and form an objective.
Objective: Students will be able to describe and explain the components (parts) of the cell theory.
I underlined the words above because these are vocabulary and action verbs students must learn and understand.
This objective opens the door to your lesson and guided questions to jump start your lesson on the day you give it.
Example: Class what does it mean to describe something? When you explain something what are you doing? Does anyone know what the word component means? …What is a theory? So, what do you believe the cell theory is referring to?

Here’s a download that you can print and add to your lesson plan binder or share with a colleague: BREAKING DOWN LEARNING STANDARDS

For in depth training or 1-1 consultation, please contact me directly.


Published by Andrea Pickens and Associates, LLC

Greetings: My name is Andrea S. Pickens; I have several years of experience in education and youth development all of which include teaching and leading youth in under-resourced and economically disadvantaged communities. I believe that it is critical to the academic and over success of our youth to have proper academic and social-emotional support. This support is often found in schools and after-school programs that intervene by providing tutoring/enrichment services and are equipped with effective teachers and leaders. My belief is that each child can learn, but not all children learn the same; diversity and equity is crucial to youth development. It is my mission as an educator, entrepreneur, and servant-leader to equip and empower others in youth development and education to reach our youth beyond the secondary classroom. Yours in Education, Andrea S. Pickens, M.Ed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: