Post Your Learning Objectives

Our students should know what they will learn today.  Just as important as what we are learning is WHY are we needing to know this.  Mike Schmoker says, "There is a glaring absence of the most basic elements of an effective lesson: an essential, clearly defined learning target."  In some classrooms, neither the teacher or student could articulate what they were learning.  They could only describe the activity or assignment being given."

The most effective way to accomplish this is:

1.  Post and state the objective prior to learning. 

 For young learners, say it in kid-friendly terms.  Reciting the state learning objective in formal language may not be appropriate for the young learners.  Phrase it in "I Can or We Will" statements for students to read and understand.

2.  Share how and why this relates to real world learning.

It is important for students to understand why the lesson is relevant to them.  As adults we know ourselves that when we participate in an activity that has meaning we often remember it longer.
Students need a reason for listening and participating in the lesson.  I have often refer to this as authentic learning.  The term authentic learning seems to fit perfectly with this explanation.  Authentic means genuine.  The students participated in the lesson because they felt led to do so.

3.  Make connections- to previous and future learning.

Most teachers do this naturally and don't even realize it.  We want to call attention to how the current learning is connected to something they have already learned or how they will apply it in the future.
Posting learning objectives so students know what they are learning and why.
Posting the Objective:
The learning objective should be aligned to your state standards.  For me, that is Texas.  We use the TEKS and not Common Core.  However, this is a recommended practice for all states.

Some teachers write the objective on the board.  Some teachers display it digitally.  And some teachers post it on a bulletin board.   It really doesn't matter the how you get this accomplished.  The point is that we all take time to share what we are going to learn with our students.
 WHY is this important?
Writing the objective on the board for display is the first step.  We can't just stop there.  It is critical that we explain the objective to the students.  This does two things.  First, it allows the student to prepare for the lesson.  They have a focus on what is being presented to them.  Second, it helps the teacher to keep to the rigor of the objective.

Knowing your standards are key.  We need to make sure teachers are teaching at the level of rigor as described in the standard.  Posting and verbally stating the objective also helps plan appropriate activities.  These activities must align to the standard.

At the end of the lesson:
At the end of the lesson, close by rereading the objective to the students.  You can tie it all back together and help them see their learning in action.  They begin to make connections.

You know I must add some research.  I'm sure you were expecting it!

Research says, When students are clear in advance about what they are learning, their achievement  on average is 34 percentile points higher on tests.  

Need help getting started?  Here's something that may help.

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