When choosing instructional materials, it is imperative that we educators carefully consider if the materials are aligned to the standards. Too often, we make the mistake of choosing an instructional material by merely considering the content of the standard (what is being taught), such as ending punctuation or cause/effect. We often neglect to pay attention to whether the materials address the cognitive demand of the standard (what students are required to do to demonstrate their mastery of the standard). We spend countless hours finding what we think are the best lessons to teach a standard, but if the lessons we choose do not address the content, cognitive demand and context of the standard completely, then all of our hard work is for naught. No matter how well we teach the lesson, few students will be successful at mastering the standard. That’s why it’s so important to purchase materials that are aligned to the “depth and complexity,” or the 3 C’s of the standards. We’ll write more about the 3 C’s next week.
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