Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daily Assignment #104: Writing Objectives

When I started teaching, writing the objectives for a lesson was something you did when you were student teaching.  Now, objectives for lessons are required.  Some districts/schools require teacher to post the objectives in the classroom for a lesson so that students understand what they are to know and be able to do by the end of class.  My experience, not only as a student, as a beginning teacher was more of "guess what's on the teacher's mind."   My instruction was also activity driven, meaning I really wasn't sure what the students were supposed to know or be able to do but I sure knew they were having fun.

Since those beginning years, I have learned a great deal about understanding objectives of lessons and how to articulate them.  Let me share with you an abbreviated version of how to write objectives.

First, look at your lesson and decide what it is you want students to know and to be able to do as a result of  the learning experience.

Second,  write--"Students will know... and be able to...

Objectives should be specific, observable, measurable and contain verbs, such as the ones listed below:

Objective language: 

Cite, Choose, Define, Label, List Locate, Match, Name, Arrange, Classify, Describe, Diagram, Draw, Explain, Identify, Apply, Demonstrate, Illustrate, Interpret, Predict, Categorize, Differentiate, Predict, Conclude, Critique, Support, Evaluate, Contrast, Interpret, Solve, Prove, Research, Write, State, Discuss, Estimate, Summarize, Analyze.  

There are many more verbs that can be used to describe what students will know and be able to do, this is just a few.


  • Students will know and be able to state five facts about the planet Mars.
  • Students will know how to solve an algorithm in division with 5 digit numbers and be able to solve 10 division algorithms. 
  • Students will be able to define a persuasive essay and write a 3 paragraph persuasive essay.
  • Students will know 3 shapes and 4 colors and be able to use the vocabulary in describing a picture.
  • Students will know how to summarize a story and be able to use a summarizing graphic organizer.
Of course, you need to translate objectives into kid friendly language.  For younger students, giving the objective in verbal form is more appropriate than writing on a chart/smart board.  For older students, posting the objectives, and verbally giving them, is important.

Your students will pay much more attention to the lesson because they know what they will need to know and be able to do after the lesson.  It is so much better to have them have this information than to have them sitting in front of you trying to guess what's on your mind.

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Best Effort!

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