Step 9: Identify Key Skills

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  • Skills are another important element to be identified in the unit plan. All students need to have multiple opportunities to utilize disciplinary skills to become an expert in a discipline. Some skills may be identified in content standards, others may be district or school mandates. There is no way to list all of the skills a student will use during the teaching of a unit. Therefore, the list of skills should reflect ONLY those skills that are the top priority as the unit is taught through the daily lessons a teacher will develop for learning.


Guidelines for identifying key skills that students need to use during the unit,

  • List the skills (not the activities) the students will do in class.
  • Revisit the clarifying objectives identified for the unit and ensure that the skills articulated in the objectives transfer to the skills to this section.
  • Determine the skills to be listed by deciding on the specific skills that are going to be assessed in the unit.


Examples
  • Interpret data presented in time lines
  • Analyze data in maps, charts, tables, and graphs
  • Evaluate differing points of view on an historical event or issue.
  • Use graphic organizers to outline and organize information.
Non-Examples
  • Students will create a timeline of the civil rights movement.
  • Students will color a map of major geographic regions of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.
  • Argue and justify opinion with historical accuracy in Socratic Seminars.
  • Students will create a foldable.




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  • As you identify the key skills that students need to use during the unit, ask yourself the following questions:
    • What key disciplinary skills do I want my student to acquire and/or utilize during the unit of study? For example, will students analyze primary and secondary sources?
    • Are there any multi-disciplinary skills from another content area that would be useful to students during this unit?



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  • Begin identifying key skills that students will learn and practices as part of your unit.
  • The image below is an example of a content and skills graphic organizer that you might use in your planning!



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