What if a group of teachers got together and — in an hour or two — articulated the point of their subject area? How might it transform the way we frame work for our students? These “big goals” written in student-friendly language articulate what the discipline requires regardless of the teacher in front of you.
The following two examples were drafted in 60 minutes as part of a workshop I facilitated in DeSoto, TX.
Science Example (K-12):
- I can write, talk & draw science.
- I can write a detailed lab report following my rubric.
- I can discuss my investigations using whole sentences and appropriate vocabulary.
- I can make and use graphics to help my listener/reader to understand my investigation and conclusions.
- I can act and think like a CSI scientist (Critical Science Investigator) using excellent lab safety and critical thinking skills.
- I can make observations to help me understand the basic scientific concept being explored.
- I can design and conduct my own experiments using appropriate lab safety and equipment. I can then use my data to draw a conclusion and accept or reject my hypothesis.
- I can formulate my own informed opinions applying basic scientific knowledge and skills whenever I read or hear a scientific claim from any source including the internet, TV, news or even from my textbook.
- I can analyze data to explain what happened (a concept, a system or phenomenon).
Career and Vocational Education Example (High School Only)
- I can investigate career pathways to become credentialed in any career to determine my future goals and actions
- I can take an unfamiliar situation or problem and resolve it based on training and experience
- I can communicate effectively by connecting with an individual to include them in the decision-making process
Clarification comes not only from articulation of the goals, but how they are measured in authentic tasks that require application in a novel context. Imagine if, on the first day of school, the “syllabus” became these goals as well as a 1-2 sentence task of what students will produce throughout the course.
Be inspired to reframe how you introduce your discipline (as well as yourself) to your new students!