Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson

Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson

Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson

Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson

Synopsis

In Learning Targets , Connie M. Moss and Susan M. Brookhart contend that improving student learning and achievement happens in the immediacy of an individual lesson--what they call "today's lesson"--or it doesn't happen at all.

The key to making today's lesson meaningful? Learning targets. Written from students' point of view, a learning target describes a lesson-sized chunk of information and skills that students will come to know deeply. Each lesson's learning target connects to the next lesson's target, enabling students to master a coherent series of challenges that ultimately lead to important curricular standards.

Drawing from the authors' extensive research and professional learning partnerships with classrooms, schools, and school districts, this practical book

• Situates learning targets in a theory of action that students, teachers, principals, and central-office administrators can use to unify their efforts to raise student achievement and create a culture of evidence-based, results-oriented practice.

• Provides strategies for designing learning targets that promote higher-order thinking and foster student goal setting, self-assessment, and self-regulation.

• Explains how to design a strong performance of understanding, an activity that produces evidence of students' progress toward the learning target.

• Shows how to use learning targets to guide summative assessment and grading.

Learning Targets also includes reproducible planning forms, a classroom walk-through guide, a lesson-planning process guide, and guides to teacher and student self-assessment.

What students are actually doing during today's lesson is both the source of and the yardstick for school improvement efforts. By applying the insights in this book to your own work, you can improve your teaching expertise and dramatically empower all students as stakeholders in their own learning.

Excerpt

If you ask a teacher, an administrator, and a student the question “How can we raise student achievement?” you’ll likely get a variety of answers. Each answer will reveal a personal theory of action—that is, the individual’s mental map for what to do in a certain situation to produce a desired result. Our personal theories of action determine how we plan, implement, and evaluate our actions. They also guide us in deciding which evidence we accept or reject to help us determine whether or not we achieved what we set out to do.

School districts rarely work with a coherent theory of action on how to raise student achievement. As a result, students, teachers, and administrators are often working at odds, each person doing what he or she believes is best and often misunderstanding one another’s intentions and actions.

This book presents a learning target theory of action that arose from our research and professional learning partnerships with classrooms, schools, and school districts. These experiences compelled us to write a book explaining the crucial role that learning targets play in student learning and achievement, teacher expertise, and educational leadership.

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