Using the Performance Continuum in Planning Activities

Steps 3 and 4 of the teaching/learning cycle involve designing a learning activity to address the real-life concerns of learners and developing a plan to capture evidence and report learning. At this stage teachers can develop their own planning tool or use one described in Step 3. Below are some suggested steps for using the performance continuum as a tool to complete this planning guide.

  1. Based on the information she collected about students' prior knowledge Joan determined that most of her students were working toward Performance Level 2. Before class she looked carefully again at the standard and the Level 2 indicators and considered these in light of the specific goal the class would be working on. What would the students need to know in order to learn more about healthy food options? How would she know whether the students had advanced in their learning to learn skills?

  2. Armed with some preliminary ideas, Joan asked the class to help her to fill out a planning guide by brainstorming with students what to list in the left-hand column "What do we need to know?" (Step 3 of the teaching and learning cycle). She started by paraphrasing the language in the Knowledge, Skills and Strategies section of Level 2 Performance Level Description and contextualizing the information to fit the concrete example of learning about healthy food options. For example, she started by addressing the key knowledge in KSS Bullet 1: "In learning to learn, one of the first things we need to do is to identify your individual current and future learning needs, and think of a particular goal to shoot for, based on what you already know and what you need to know. What can we do in class to help us identify all of our learning needs and goals related to learning more about healthy food?" The class considered their options and decided that they should have a group discussion about food to help them figure out what they know and don't know about the topic. Joan then asked, "How should we decide what our learning needs and goals are?" The group decided that they would come up with a worksheet to use as they went through this activity.

  3. Joan and the class moved back and forth between the goal-specific knowledge, skills and strategies and the Level 2 dimensions of performance until they had covered all the main activities they would need to reach the goal. As you look at the complete Planning Guide for this activity you will find that some activities may cover several dimensions of performance at once while others may address just one sub-skill within a single dimension. As they worked, they also tried to keep in mind the amount of time they had to work on this project. For example, in this case, they wanted to work on this activity for only part of the class time over four class sessions.

Planning Guide

Standard: Take Responsibility for Learning
Teaching and Learning Activity: Learn about healthy food options for you and your family. (1-2)

What do we need to know?

How can we learn it?

How will we show we know it?
How to identify current and future learning needs, and communicate a specific and attainable learning goal based on those needs (KSS Bullet 1). Discuss problems students may have had in the past with food, such as not knowing the amount of fat or calories in a food item, understanding the food pyramid, etc.

Discuss what students already know healthy eating options, what they need to know, and one personal goal they have for learning about healthier food options.

Come up with a worksheet for working on this goal (3-4).
Teacher observation log

Student learning plan worksheet, Part 1

To see a complete version of this Planning Guide, click here.

Click here to print out a blank Word version of the Planning Guide to use in your program.

Multi-Level Classes

In multi-level classes you may find that students fall within two or three different performance levels. In this case you may need to create modified planning guides for each level. Often you can plan instruction where the activities themselves are similar but the expectations are different depending on the level. For example, students performing at a lower level may be asked to identify a simpler learning goal and will be expected to only use a few simple learning strategies to arrive at this goal. Students at a higher level may be asked to identify a more complex learning goal and be expected to use a range of simple and sophisticated learning strategies to arrive at their goal.

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