What is a learning target?
As is described in this article, Knowing your Learning Target, a learning target is a lesson sized chunk of learning described in student friendly, age appropriate language to be shared with students. As the authors note, the first things students must learn is what it is that they should be learning in a given lesson. What should they attend to? Helping students set their sights on the appropriate targets is the intention of identifying a learning target. These are different from instructional objectives written in teacher language, these are framed from the student’s perspective.
Consider this passage from the article:
Students who don’t know the intention of a lesson expend precious time and energy trying to figure out what their teachers expect them to learn. And many students, exhausted by the process, wonder why they should even care.
Consider the following high school lesson on Jane Eyre. The teacher begins by saying,
Today, as you read the next chapter, carefully complete your study guide. Pay close attention to the questions about Bertha— Mr. Rochester’s first wife. Questions 16 through 35 deal with lunacy and the five categories of mental illness. The next 15 questions focus on facts about Charlotte Brontë’s own isolated childhood. The last 10 items ask you to define terms in the novel that we seldom use today—your dictionaries will help you define those words. All questions on Friday’s test will come directly from the study guide.
What is important for students to learn in this lesson? Is it how to carefully complete a study guide, the five types of mental illness, facts about Brontë’s childhood, meanings of seldom-used words, or facts about Mr. Rochester’s first wife? Your guess is as good as ours.
Examples of Learning Targets for the Common Core
Recently I ran across this set of learning targets for K-8 ELA Common Core standards and for k-12 Mathematics Common Core standards. They are not perfect but do help to unpack each of these sets of standards into more kid friendly language that could be used in your instruction.
They come from Dr. Bob Darnell. His website is located here.
|Grade||ELA Learning Targets||
Math Learning Targets
|Grade K|| GrK_ConvertedELAStandards