Episode 7: 3 Steps To Planning Foundational Skills Mastery

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Allen Lakein

As a teacher, you have to make sure that you are planning for success.

If you don’t plan for it, you are not ensuring that you are going to be successful.

When it comes to reading, it is vital that kids have foundational skills. It’s like building a house. Each foundational skill builds a solid foundation for future learning success.  For example, one foundational skill kids must have is phonemic awareness. They have to be able to know sight words, the letters, the names, and the sounds and be able to put it all together and decode. Having this skill is the foundation to get kids to the end goal of comprehension.

How do you assure foundational skills mastery?

By creating a plan of course! I’m going to share with you three steps you need to take when creating a teaching plan.

3 Steps To Planning For Foundational Skills Mastery

​When you start each year, you have so much that you have to teach!

To make sure that you get to the goal of having all of your kids on grade level at the end of the year, you have to have some type of plan that is going to get you there.

Step 1

The first thing you have to do is decide WHAT it is that you are going to teach. You have a lot of things in your programs, whether it’s a reading program or just a lot of material that you have to use to teach, and sometimes it can be hard to determine WHAT the important stuff is.

What is it that you are going to teach to mastery?

To start, I suggest focusing on the five areas, but getting even more specific and diving into:

  • What are the phonemic awareness skills that kids need to have in place?
  • What are the skills that you need to make sure that you teach?

Because there are a lot of skills; you could be teaching forever! You have to really hone in and decide what is it that is going to give you the biggest results. Next, decide what those things are that you are going to teach. That’s step number one!

Step 2

After you have decided what you are going to teach, the next step is you want to determine what learning outcomes you want to accomplish and by WHEN. You want to be very specific and the outcomes need to be able to be something that you assess to see if the kids “got it”.

You want to be very specific and make sure the learning outcomes are:

  • Measurable: A goal you can assess and measure.
  • Time Sensitive: Have a time period of when kids are going to have it mastered.

For example, “The learning outcome I want for this month is my students are going to be able to identify the letters A, B, C, and D.”  

​As you can see, this learning outcome is broken down into a monthly goal and is something I suggest you use as a guideline . Let’s say you are a kindergarten teacher and you want your students to know 25 sight words by the end of the year. What you  would do is break it down into monthly learning outcomes detailing WHAT sight words the kids will learn and by WHEN.

Step 3

The third and final step is you have to determine HOW you are going to measure this.

How are you going to assess that the kids understand it and have learned it?

What kind of assessment are you going to give?

For example, if you’re teaching five sight words that month, then you’re going to want to assess those five sight words. You want to asses that the kids are not just reading the sight words, but understanding them in text so they can apply them.

Using these steps as a guideline in planning for foundational skills mastery very important. When you have the end goal planned of what your learning outcomes are and how are you going to assess them, it’s going to tremendously help your kids as they start practicing and learning these pieces to mastery because they will know what is expected of them.

One last thought for you… never forget what you do every day is so important and it is what can change a child’s whole future!

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