Three Important Jobs

May 11, 2014 | by Janice Smith

Transparency with objectives is important for a couple reasons.  First of all, as we’ve mentioned several times before, knowing where you’re headed before you even start can help build investment, clarity and direction in a lesson.  Many students feel more comfortable when they know exactly what’s happening in that lesson, and are invested in working towards mastery.  Additionally, when students know what the objective is, they are able to more clearly evaluate whether or not they were successful at the end of the lesson.

It was a bit easier to do this in a 7th and 8th grade classroom, and then an 11th grade classroom, but can be a little trickier with younger students.  Translating objectives into student friendly language, and finding ways to integrate this transparently with even our youngest scholars is challenging, but important. This clip beautifully shows how Ms. Acree does this with her scholars.

And while this example is for our youngest students, the takeaway is the same for all grades, Kindergarten through 12th grade.  If someone walked in your room during Independent Practice, would a student be able to articulate in their own words the objective, how the work they’re doing at that moment relates to that objective, and how close to success they are?

Take a look…


How transparent are you with your objectives?  A quick checklist…

  • Do you post your objective on your board every day?
  • Is it in student friendly language?
  • Do you reference it throughout the lesson to give students context for how each piece of work is related to what they’re working to accomplish and how it’s getting them closer?
  • Do you measure student success both throughout and at the conclusion of a lesson?  How aware are students that you’re doing this, and where they stand?
  • Do students know how they did on the original goal at the end of the lesson?
  • How do you follow up with students after the lesson who did not master it in order to ensure all students are finding success (even if it takes a bit longer for some)?   I began to take this piece more seriously in my own classroom when I realized that dropping the ball on this part of the lesson cycle was as good as a broken promise to my students.
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