Using the T.R.A.P. method to align to Common Core standards
The Common Core State Standards challenge our students to show evidence of learning in new ways. Instructional shifts are required, especially since we must now incorporate writing into content areas that have not historically included much writing. Integrating these writing standards can be difficult to do especially for history, science and other technical subjects like computer literacy. Here we are after a few years of grappling with the Common Core State Standards yet we still have not seen a method teachers can use to teach these standards. Coupled with the increased emphasis on informational text across various subjects, this can be daunting.
I know I was lost at first, even after I had in-services explaining what the Common Core was, because I was not taught how to implement the standards into my lessons. So after much researching, I started understanding. When I looked for lessons that said they were “Common Core aligned” that usually meant one or two standards are being met. While this may be fine for many of the K-2 lessons, once you start writing, one standard at a time just isn’t enough to meet so many standards.
To me, the big realization hit when I understood that the Common Core is about reading AND writing, NOT filling in blanks or just answering questions, it’s about synthesizing information from multiple sources to arrive with a solution/opinion. I took all the activities, worksheets, and ideas and I was able to break up my lesson planning into four major steps; that is when I came up with the T.R.A.P method.
Before you start creating lessons or materials decide on what standards you are going to work on. I suggest two state standards, two district standards, and two Common Core standards at a minimum for each lesson. As ridiculous as it may sound, I have been able to cover 16 standards with one lesson :o). We will be writing about informational text so decide on a writing prompt your students will use to complete a product which will be explained soon. When you are ready to give your lesson follow the T.R.A.P method:
You teach content based on your district, state or CTE standards using academic language. You can teach topics, issues, themes, concepts, ideas, steps, strategies, sequences… etc. You may need to adjust the wording of writing assignments to meet the proficiency level of ELL learners and/or struggling readers. You may also need to provide classroom modifications such as pictures, word walls, sentence starters, or sentence frames, as appropriate to teach your content.
R – Read
Students then read informational texts (at least 3) you provide to reinforce the teaching of your content. “Text” refers to various types of media such as: videos, text books, reading pages, web sites, articles, magazines, maps, charts or snippets of any of the above, etc…
With assistance from you as needed, students then analyze the texts using some type of graphic organizer and they form conclusions using evidence from the sources you provide them. You provide the assistance they need to complete their writing ideas and you make sure all students are understanding the essential questions of your lessons.
P – Produce
Students then use evidence from the texts you provided, as well as their conclusions listed in their graphic organizers, to create an end product that you have assigned. You give and explain the rubric that will be used to grade their end products. Examples of end products are: paragraphs, reviews, posters, timelines, articles, speeches, lab reports, brochures, accounts, essays, editorials, etc…
The T.R.A.P. method provides a framework for you to follow to ensure your lessons are aligned! Follow these four steps and you will cover various content standards, reading standards, and writing standards at the same time. End result: standards are aligned and more standards are covered!
If you organize your lessons in the T.R.A.P. framework it should be much easier to create effective lessons. Need a little more help? I have a free T.R.A.P. method organizer so you start creating your lessons using this framework.
A K-8, high school, and community college teacher, Raul Esparza is the driving force behind SpellingPackets and 2LearnComputing. His educational products can be found on TpT.