## What the Research Says

*students*should have clear goals. If the teacher is the only one who understands where learning should be headed, students are flying blind. In all the studies we just cited, students were taught the learning goals and criteria for success, and that's what made the difference.

*along with their students*to aim for and assess understanding. Students have the learning target in mind as they do their work, and they filter what they do during a lesson by asking themselves how this activity or assignment will help them hit that target.

## What Are Learning Targets?

- Describe for students exactly what they're going to learn by the end of the day's lesson.
- Be in language students can understand.
- Be stated from the point of view of a student who has yet to master the knowledge or skill that's the focus of the day's lesson.
- Be embodied in a performance of understanding—what the students will do, make, say, or write during the lesson—that translates the description into action. A performance of understanding shows students what the learning target looks like, helps them get there, and provides evidence of how well they're doing.
- Include student
*look fors*(sometimes called criteria for success) in terms that describe mastery of the learning target rather than in terms of a score or grade.

*Students will write five sentences*), ask yourself, "What will the students learn by doing that?" (

*I can write sentences that tell complete thoughts*).

*students*see where they're going and help you get them there, you need more than that.

## Learning—Or Doing?

*all*the lessons in the unit. So the daily learning targets she presented to students were statements like these:

*The students will put examples of figurative language on cards and sort them according to type, The students will identify two examples of simile and two examples of metaphor in Jean Craighead George's*Julie of the Wolves, and so on.

*real*learning targets could be summarized like this:

- I can define simile and recognize examples in literature.
- I can define metaphor and recognize examples in literature.
- I can distinguish metaphors from similes.
- I can explain how metaphors and similes enhanced the storytelling.
- I can describe and identify examples of different points of view.
- I can explain how the point of view affected the story.

*learn*and then embodying them with plans for what students will

*do*, rather than rolling them all into one. When students have learning targets articulated in this way, they can answer the question, "What are you trying to learn?" They begin to see learning as growing a body of knowledge and skills, rather than checking off a series of assignments.

## What It Should Look Like

*learn*and what they will

*do*.

## In an Elementary Classroom

*I can subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number without regrouping (borrowing), using cubes.*The performance of understanding included modeling subtraction problems of this type with math cubes.

*I can subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number without regrouping, without using cubes.*

*I can subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number with regrouping, using cubes*. During this lesson, as for the others, the teacher circulated around the room and gave students feedback. He used strategic questioning to help students see that regrouping using cubes in subtraction worked in the opposite way from how they regrouped using cubes in addition, emphasizing mathematical reasoning. He said, "Remember for subtraction we start at the

*top*of the problem to decide about regrouping, not at the bottom like we do for addition. Which number is bigger here, top or bottom? Do you need to regroup?"

*I use regrouping when the problem needs it, and I don't use regrouping if it doesn't.*When students couldn't make this distinction, the teacher pulled them aside and worked with them on problems that didn't require regrouping until they were ready to move on to problems that required regrouping.

*I can subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number with regrouping, without using cubes.*Again, students realized that they were building on their concrete learning from the previous lesson to learn how to subtract using paper and pencil. Most of them came to this realization on their own, because moving from Lesson 3 to 4 followed the same pattern they used to move from Lesson 1 to 2—from cubes to paper.

*I can subtract a two-digit number from a two-digit number with regrouping.*Students applied what they had learned about subtracting two-digit numbers that required regrouping in the ones place; they were just adding one more piece—subtracting in the tens place.

*destination*for the parade, not the learning target for each lesson. Each lesson took the students one step farther down the road.

## In a Secondary Classroom

- Have a better understanding of the complexity of the federal bureaucracy.
- Realize that the design of bureaucracy puts some agencies within the reach of partisan politics and some theoretically outside that reach, although still subject to some political pressure because they were created by either the president or Congress.
- Be able to identify the various workers' roles and the budget involved in each type of agency and, by doing so, come to a better understanding of where federal taxes go.

## More Than Fanfare

*learning target*for individual lessons, for two reasons. One, using

*target*for the lesson-sized learning goals and

*goals*or

*standards*for the larger learning goals avoids the confusion that comes with calling two different things by the same name. Two, having a special name for the lesson-sized learning goal emphasizes the idea that every lesson needs one. Students should never feel as though they're simply repeating the same thing today that they did yesterday.