Select Skills to Teach

Who can do this with default capabilities?

District Level Administrators, District Staff, School Level Administrators, School Staff, Teachers

Creating a new Lesson Plan is a three-stage process—this page is for the first stage:

  1. Selecting skills to teach
  2. Choosing assignments
  3. Scheduling assignments

If you begin creating a Lesson Plan and then have to leave Planner before you are finished (for example, you select the Home icon in the page header), you will be prompted to enter a name for the Lesson Plan:

To save the plan as a draft, enter a name for it and select Save .

To discard your work up to this point, select Discard .

When you return to Planner, any draft plans you have saved will be listed on the bottom of the page. Select the Edit link to resume working on the Lesson Plan (or select Delete to delete it).

Planner will temporarily save your work as you go, so if you make an unexpected departure from Planner (for example, you accidentally close your browser), you will be given an opportunity to resume your work if you return to Planner within one week:

Select Continue working on this plan to resume your work, or Discard and start a new plan to delete the saved work and start over again.

  1. Use the drop-down lists in the sentence at the top of the page to choose the subject and class or group for the Lesson Plan.

    When you select class/group or grade options , a pop-up window will open where you can make your choices:

    • District level administrators, district staff, and other personnel assigned to more than one school will need to select schools in the Schools column .

      • Choose Select Schools at the top and then check individual schools to select them, or select All Schools to select all the available schools at once.
      • School level administrators, school staff, and other personnel assigned to only one school will not need to select a school.

      You can search the items in a column by clicking within that column and then typing Ctrl+F or control-F on the keyboard.

    • The default option is to create Lesson Plans for classes and groups. If you would rather create a Lesson Plan for all students in a grade, select the CLICK HERE link . This changes the second column from Classes and Groups to Grades:

      Select the link again to switch back to Classes and Groups.

    • If you are creating a Lesson Plan for classes and groups, check the classes and groups you want to assign the plan to in the Classes and Groups column .

      • You can select more than one class or group.
      • Teachers planning for classes and groups will only see their own classes and groups.
      • Groups in classes that aren't using Planner will not be shown in the list.
      • Selecting multiple classes/groups will make Star suggested skills unavailable; the Manage Groups function (see tip box below) will also be unavailable.
    • If you are creating a Lesson Plan for all students in a grade, choose the grade you want to assign the plan to in the Grades column .

      • You can only select one grade.
      • Teachers will only be assigning the lesson plan to their own students who are in the chosen grade.

    Once you have made your choices, select Apply at the bottom of the pop-up window to save them, or Cancel to close the pop-up window without saving your changes.

  2. Next, choose the timeframe to plan for based on the date range .

    You can choose one of the standard weekly timeframes or custom dates . Note that you can have more than one Lesson Plan for the same dates.

    If you choose to use custom dates, you can either type the start and end dates ( and ) or select them from the calendars that open as you click in each field . When you're done, select Continue (or Cancel if you decide not to use custom dates).

  3. After making your selections, you will see the placement level . Based on Star assessment data and Renaissance Learning's student growth models, the placement level is an estimated answer to the question: "If the students in the class/group (or grade) that I have selected were to take a Star assessment on the first day of the time period I have selected, what would their median Scaled Score be?"

    This estimation allows you to use Star's science (Star's proven validity and reliability) to have a very good sense of your students' achievement level as of today. The placement level is calculated using some of the students' recent tests and typical growth rates (for more information, see Student Growth Percentile). Select the on the right for more information .

    Ideally, groups of students are placed in the Learning Progressions for reading and math based on their SGP or their scores on prior Star assessments. However, there are instances where a group of students has no prior testing to go by. In this case, an appropriate placement is calculated ahead of time.

    Test Data/Scores Used to Place Students on Learning Progression


    • Preferred data/score for placement: SGP in reading
    • If no SGP in reading: most recent Star Reading test score
    • If no Star Reading test score: SGP in early literacy
    • If no SGP in early literacy: most recent Star Early Literacy test score
    • If no Star Early Literacy test score: use calculated placement (described below)


    • Preferred data/score for placement: SGP in math
    • If no SGP in math: most recent Star Math test score
    • If no Star Math test score: use calculated placement (described below)

    Calculated Placement

    Renaissance has run thousands of simulated Star tests, creating a pool of testing data for “hypothetical” students in every grade. This data was passed through our SGP calculations to give each student an end-of-year (spring) SGP; the data was also compared to the cut scores for every state.

    For each grade and state, a student was selected from the data pool who met two qualifications:

    1. The student met the end-of-year proficiency requirements for the student’s grade and state, and
    2. the student was in the 50th percentile of his/her peers.

    This means that for every grade in every state, we can take this student and reverse-engineer that student’s journey through the school year, calculating the student’s placement in the learning progression (reading and math) for any given date within the school year. That calculated placement is used to place groups of students who have no test data/scores of their own.

    “This group of students has been placed much higher/lower on the learning progression than I expected. Why is that?”

    When placements are calculated, they take into account the standards set by the state. If your state has very high standards set, the path through the learning progression will start and end higher than normal. This may result in students being assigned skills that are a grade or two above their actual grade level (the converse is also true).

    By default, the skills you will view are based on the learning progression (Star's recommendations). If you would rather view skills based on your school's pacing guide (which is aligned to your curriculum), select the on the right . In the pop-up window, select Pacing Guide , and then Change Strategy . (You can change back to the learning progression in the same way.)

  4. The number in the slider above the pace bar is the selected point in the pacing guide or learning progression based on the placement level. Select the arrows to either side of it (or click on the pacing guide/learning progression line itself) to raise or lower its value. As you do this, the following information will change:

    Note: If you have chosen to make the lesson plan for all students in a grade, the pace bar will be set to the grade you selected.

  5. Check the learning objectives (skills) that you want to include in your new Lesson Plan. In the example below, the teacher has chosen the second, third, and fourth skill cards shown.

    • Suggested skills have a "Suggested" indicator at the bottom . (If you chose multiple classes/groups or grades to assign the plan to, these indicators will not be shown.)
    • Skills that are already used in previous lessons plans are marked with a message that tells you if they are in a draft plan or have been generated . A draft plan is a Lesson Plan that you have started, but that you haven't generated.
    • Focus skills are also marked ; these are the skills that are most critical for success at each grade level.

    Once selected, the skills are listed below the skill cards . You can remove a skill by selecting the on the right .

  6. To see more information about a skill, such as the standard, select the at the bottom of the card . You will see the skill information in a new window, with the skill details shown by default. Select one of the categories on the left to see domains and standards, subskills, and prerequisite skills. (Some skills may not have subskills or prerequisites.)

    Select Close to close the information window.

  7. If you want to find specific skills to include in a Lesson Plan, select the above the skill cards .

    1. In the pop-up window, enter a keyword to search for and select the domain you want to search within from the Show drop-down list . Then select the on the right side of the keywords field .

    2. Below the keywords field, you will see how many skills match your keywords . Those assessments are flagged in the pace line ; on the skill cards, the same flag appears in the upper-right corner .

      Use the slider arrows to move from one skill to the next. To include a skill in the Lesson Plan, check it.

    3. In the next stage of the process (choosing resources and assignments), you may be presented with assessments that address the subject you have chosen. In some programs, such as Star Custom, it is possible for users to create their own assessments (which can be for their own use or for others to also use). If you know of such an assessment and you want to include it in the next stage of lesson planning, select Select an assessment... under the domains drop-down list .

      A pop-up window will open, showing all the available assessments that were created by users and that match the subject chosen. You can select an assessment , search for a specific user-created assessment , or select Cancel to close this window without selecting an assessment.

      Note: If you select an assessment in this window, you will immediately be taken to the next stage of creating a Lesson Plan (adding student resources and assignments). Although you can return to this page, the Select an assessment... link will no longer be available.

  8. When you have finished choosing the skills to include in the Lesson Plan, select Continue .