Stick Up Your Standards!
Lesson 4 of 7
Objective: With guidance and support, SWBAT listen to and create their own "I Can" Statements to guide their learning.
Standards are really important to us as teachers for two reasons:
1) we need to know WHAT we are going to teach
2) our students need to know how we they are going to learn
As teachers, it is our job to make sure that we, and our students, are fully aware of our standards at all times! One way I like to do this it to make "I can... statements" for my students to introduce each lesson. Since I am not a "scripted" teacher and I do not like to write down everything I am going to say ahead of time, I like to have my standards listed in a place where I can create my "I can... statements" in the moment. So, I stick my standards up where I can see them! In the end, I use them to help me and I also teach my students how to use them; this way, students use this chart to guide their own learning goals, while using the Common Core State Standards vocabulary!
On my Standards Sign, I like to list the following curricular blocks:
Science and Social Studies
Extras (like holidays, seasonal activities, etc.)
Next to each of these headings, I put the main focus for that block for the day.
*This helps students understand the concept of main idea and it helps them really see the focus for their learning.
Students are expected to look at and use this objectives board just as I do. I look at it to remind me of what we are working on and I also create "I Can" Statements from this board; students do the same thing. Throughout the day, when each lesson starts, I am able to ask students to create "I Can" Statements to introduce our standards.
By successfully utilizing this board, students are able to work on their foundational reading skills by looking at the chart, while also working on their speaking and listening skills when immersed in the language of the Common Core State Standards.
When I introduce this board to students, I just give an overview and then we practice using it together. It's short and sweet but very useful and it helps set up my expectations and students' routines for the year.
"Today, we are going to learn how to use this objectives board here." (wait time- pointing to the board) "An objective is a learning goal." (wait time) "So, if I say that our objective for a lesson is to do SOMETHING, then after that lesson, I want you to be able to tell me or show me that SOMETHING." (wait time) "On today's board for reading, it says that we are working on sequencing. Remember: sequencing is putting the events from a story in order." (wait time) "So, with this lesson, I would say, 'I can sequence events in a story.' That would be what I want to learn and be able to do with this lesson." (wait time) "If this said that in reading we were working on main idea, then I would say, 'I can find the main idea of a text.' So, after the lesson, I should be able to find the main idea." (wait time)
"Let's have you practice. Here, under language arts, it says we are working on adjectives. Can anyone give me a statement that begins with "I Can" that tells me what I want you to learn with our language arts lesson? (think time, about fifteen seconds) "Share your idea with a friend; remember that it needs to being with "I Can."" (I give about twenty seconds of talk time)
Here, I call on someone who created a good "I Can" Statement and let them share it with the class. "Yes, I love how ______ said, "I can use adjectives." Of course! At the end of this lesson, you should be able to use adjectives." (wait time)
"Now that you know how to create "I Can" Statements from the board, we are going to continue to do that before and sometimes after each lesson! We are going to work on reading the objectives board and we are also going to create these statements to lead our learning. I think it's important to remember what we are working on and to use our best learning vocabulary to explain that work."
In the end, I think it's crucial that all students know how to use this board not only to practice reading and speaking, but also to reinforce their learning. Students throughout the year can depend on this objectives board to tell them what we will be working on each day while also using it to remind themselves what they should be working on (when they lose their train of thought).
On a side note, I think it's important to teach students how to create quality and correct "I Can" Statements. For example, on day one, I may guide students to to say (about adjectives) "I can identify adjectives" and then on day two, I may guide them to say, "I can use adjectives." I think that since I ratchet up my rigor with verbs through my lessons, I need to guide students to say and follow those expectations. This is what I make of it, so I want to make it meaningful and correct at all times!
This is how I stick my standards up:
Every morning, I write with a dry-erase marker what the main topic is for each area.
(If the main topic is one that is repeating from yesterday, I just leave it up!)
Every day, as I introduce each lesson, I create an "I can... statement" based on the main topic. Then, I use that statement with the students as their mission for the lesson!
This method really runs seamlessly for me and I love having my standards stuck up each day. I love reviewing them for myself each morning and I love being able to refer to them "on the fly" while I am teaching to help my students as well!
You will see, in the attached video, how exactly this sign helps me to form my students' "I can... statements" throughout the day!
By looking at an objectives board, you can easily see that students can use this to guide their own learning. I love seeing students read the board and create their "I Can" statements throughout the day. I also like being able to watch a student get lost in their thoughts and then catch themselves back up when they read and remind themselves of the learning goal on the board!