Content Knowledge in Interdisciplinary Curriculum
Colleen Rowan
Regent University

In partial fulfillment of UED 495 Field Experience ePortfolio, Spring 2016


Standards are the guidelines by which teachers create unit plans, lesson plans,
remediation plans, and assessments, so it is incredibly important that teachers are able to
understand and use these standards proficiently. Successfully incorporating standards based
instruction includes being able to break the standard down into its core meaning and also being
able to incorporate several standards into one unified and engaging lesson plan. When a teacher
is able to effectively teach according to standards, she has a clear vision of what her students
need to achieve and how she expects them to get there.
Rationale for Selection of Artifacts
For my first artifact, I chose an assignment I completed in my curriculum design class in
which I “unpacked” a fourth grade math standard. I “unpacked” the standard by breaking it down
to its essential questions, understandings, big ideas, and performance tasks. This assignment
demonstrates that I am capable of not only understanding standards on a surface level but that I
can communicate its deeper meaning and applications. This assignment also shows that I am able
to use those standards to engage students in higher levels of thinking and real world application.
My second artifact is a lesson plan that I created in which students discover why
scientists study fossils by visiting “dig sites” and making inferences about the past. Though this
lesson plan was created as part of a science unit, it incorporates standards from both science and
language arts. This lesson plan demonstrates that I am capable of designing lessons that are
aimed toward more than one standard and reach across the curriculum. This lesson plan also
shows that I am able to create lesson plans based off standards that are engaging for students and
effective for gaining understanding.


Reflection on Theory and Practice
Throughout my student teaching experience, I have used standards based instruction for
every lesson I delivered and created. Standards served as the backbone of each lesson
communicating to myself and the students what our goal and purpose was. According to Grant
Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2005) in their text Understanding by Design, lesson planning and
curriculum design should be done backwards with the first step always being identifying the
desired results. Standards fulfill that role as a guide to the results of understanding. From that
guide, a teacher can determine how her students should demonstrate their understanding and
what steps students need to take to gain their understanding. My first artifact demonstrates how
one standard can be used to identify the essential questions, understandings, big ideas, and
performance tasks of an entire curriculum. Once the desired results are determined, a teacher can
then build the rest of her lesson or curriculum with one clear unified goal.
Standards also serve as a means by which students can self-assess and track their own
progress. When standards are posted in the classroom, student understand exactly what they need
to achieve and can self-motivate themselves toward reaching that goal. I believe it is important
that students play an active role in their education and purposefully adjust their learning
according to their own needs. Without standards students would not know what the end result of
their learning is and therefore could not track their progress to determine what action needs to be
taken. Standards serve as a map for students from which they can determine if they are on track
or require an adjustment of course. Throughout my student teaching internship, I have gotten into
the habit of not only stating the standard or objective before each lesson, but also posting them in
the classroom so that students can actively participate in their education.

Another skill of a highly effective teacher is being able to fuse multiple standards from
multiple subjects into one unified lesson. Real life is not placed into separate categorized boxes
but rather is fluid and requires individuals to use multiple thoughts and subjects together every
day. For this reason, it is vital that teachers are able to create lessons that reach across the entire
curriculum incorporating all areas of relevance and application. According to Thomas Gunning
(2013) in his text Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students content areas such as science and
social studies are great opportunities to incorporate literacy instruction. In my second artifact, I
showed that I am capable of doing just that. This lesson plan was created using standards from
both science and language arts. The main focus of the lesson was for students to understand why
scientists why fossils, but the delivery of this understanding comes by means of inferencing, a
key area of learning in language arts. When used correctly, standards are not restrictive or rigid
but instead are flexible and fluid tools that guide all instruction across the curriculum. Standards
give a clear vision to teachers and students of what needs to be accomplished and how those
accomplishments can be reached.

Gunning, T. (2013). Creating Literacy Instruction for All Students. Boston: Pearson.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexandria: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Developement.