Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where Great Teaching Begins Chapter 2

The title for this chapters is Objectives as the Foundation for Learning-Focused Instruction. The author spends quite a bit of time explaining very plainly how objectives should be created and what the focus of the objectives should be.

One thing that particularly stood out was that the objectives need to be decided on before the activities are chosen. This may seem obvious, but there are plenty of times where I decide I want to do an activity and shoe-horn it into an objective that kind of fits. (Actually, I confess I am a master of finding objectives to fit whatever I choose to do.)

A suggested exercise is to pretend that the students can you "I can" statements to focus on the learning objectives. Will the student be able to say "I can identify and label the phases of the moon"? If they can, then the activity probably met the objective successfully.

A great statement in the chapter is "Practice occurs during learning, while achievement is demonstrated knowledge. Objectives describe achievement, not practice." This fits with my thinking that giving grades for practice, either homework or daily work, is pretty dumb. They won't reflect what is learned, only what has been done (which are not the same thing.)

Reeves, Anne R.. Where great teaching begins: planning for student thinking and learning. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD, 2011. Print.