Content Planning

Strategy: TEK Study

  • Impact: When teachers gather to plan for a specific unit of study, the first question asked is, “What do the students need to know?” By collaboratively breaking down individual TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and weaving them together in an order that flows, causing the TEKS to build on one another, student learning is maximized.
  • Steps/Process: describe the steps/process in this strategy
    1. Based on your unit of study, determine the TEKS that are specifically tied to that genre.
    2. Break down each individual TEK. Example below.
      • Name the TEK: TEK 7.10D (Reading/Comprehension of Informational/Expository Text) – synthesize and make logical connectioTEKstudyphotons between ideas within a text and across two or three texts representing similar or different genres, and support those findings with textual evidence.
      • Identify the verbs: Synthesize (to combine) and Make Connections (find similarities)
      • Ask yourself, “What should the students be able to know/do?” First, they should be able to make connections (find similarities) within an informational text. After making connections, they need to support the connections with textual evidence. Next, they should be able to find connections between an informational text and other genres, followed by providing textual evidence to support their connections.
    3. Time Frame: Determine the predicted time frame of student mastery of the TEK.
      • Example: Over the span of a week, students should be able to gradually make connections among similar and differing genres, using evidence from the text as support.
  • Resource 1: The featured photo shows an example of a successful TEK study covering implicit and explicit messages.
  •  Resource 2: Here is a video of a science teacher breaking down her TEKS. Although the content is different, the process is very similar. TEKS Breakdown


Strategy: How is it tested?

  • Impact: Once the TEK has been broken down, teachers must collaboratively determine how each TEK, within the unit of study/genre, was tested on STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness).
  • Steps/Process: Previous STAAR tests can be found on the TEA (Texas Education Agency) website for teachers to analyze and study. From there, teachers can search assessments and look for questions that specifically target the TEKS covered in a particular unit of study. By analyzing the question, teachers have a better grasp on what to teach and how to model think alouds. They also have a great tool for conferring, being as they can use the question stems to deepen student thinking.
  • Resource: STAAR Released Tests


Strategy: Modeling (think aloud)

  • Impact: A major part of content planning is critically thinking about how certain skills should be modeled through a teacher lead think aloud.
  • Steps/Processthinking_aloud

    1. In your planning process, the teacher must determine the skill that needs to be taught (through TEK study)
    2. Plan a “pay attention to…” directive, in which students to pay attention to how you use a strategy (e.g. make connections, infer, draw conclusions, etc.)
    3. Research a mentor text to be used to vocalize a thought process using a particular strategy.


Strategy: Building Rigor through Problem Solving

  • Impact: What do yo do when your student “has it”? What do you do when you have presented a skill or strategy and your students have mastered it quicker than expected? This is when you plan for problem solving projects or activities that build depth and rigor in student learning. This enables students to maximize their thinking to the fullest potential.
  • Steps/Process: 
    1. Turn your skill or strategy into a real-problem for the students to solve.
    2. Allow students to discover, research and investigate complex topics in order to push their thinking.
    3. Have students create a cumulative final product inspired by their research.
  • Resource: Below is an example of building rigor through a problem solving expository project. Use this resource to create similar problem-solving projects/activities.
    • Example based on TEK 7.10D (making connections between two genres) :
      • Project Description: Using the song Where is the Love? by well-known hip-hop artists The Black Eyed Peas as inspiration, students will research and reflect on current events that are negatively affecting their neighborhood, state, country and even the world. Students will use driving questions provided to critically think about ways to combat the issues they research and give solutions on how the American people can be a part of the solution on a local, national and global level. Just like Where is the Love?, students will find a song that best connects with the research they have conducted. They must provide textual evidence that supports the connections made between the two texts.

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