I chose to tackle a standard from the Georgia Standards of Excellence in English/Language Arts for Grades 6-8: ELAGSE6RL2: Determine a theme and/or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments. This standard is broad and unwieldy. If I had to guess, I'd say that to truly master this standard, a teacher would need a minimum of 15 objectives... probably more. The following is a possible sequence of manageable, measurable objectives a teacher might use for her lessons: a. Students will be able to summarize the main idea of a short story. b. Students will identify and paraphrase central ideas of a short story. c. Students will be able to distinguish the difference between the main idea and central ideas of a short story. d. Students will identify textual details that support a short story's central ideas. e. Students will identify textual details that support a short story's main idea. f. Students will be able to distinguish objective about a short story from personal opinions or judgments of the story. g. Students will write an objective summary of a short story. If I had fewer days to tackle these objectives, I might try combining several of them (maybe f and g as well as d and e). If I had more days to tackle these objectives, I might expand my textual choices to nonfiction articles, novel excerpts, and even poems.
Since I work at a private school, teachers are not required to post their daily lesson objectives. Although some do, they most often post them just for students on the actual lesson materials (or inside OneNote class notebooks). Therefore, my first recommendation for how we might improve objective writing is to post lesson objectives publicly on a daily basis so that other teachers and administrators as well as students have access to them.
I actually taught a lesson today for 10th graders on research. Here's a list of student actions from that lesson: a. Discussed progress on finding current sources with media specialist and fellow students. b. Listened to instructions on how to form effective search terms. c. Performed practice searches on my topics along with media specialist in three general knowledge databases. d. Pulled chosen research articles into research section of OneNote notebook. e. Identified and selected correct citation format for articles. f. Created a project folder and a working bibliography for current sources. g. Used remaining time to search for and locate research articles relevant to my topic.
I don't really have a classroom, per se, but I do have an instructional lab I use to teach classes. a. Right now desks in the lab are immovable, but if I could move them, I would definitely line them up in paired rows. I hadn't thought of this layout until I read about it in Teach 2.0, but I think it would be extremely useful. Other common layouts would be small groups of four and single rows. I would definitely use the small group layout frequently, so that one would be worth practicing. b. The five most useful and important things I might put on the walls in the lab would be reminders about forming strong search terms, the importance of ethical use, how to use creative commons licenses, OneNote tips and tricks, and an overview of digital citizenship concepts. Currently, not much is on the walls, but I do have a poster up that covers the last item on the list (digital citizenship). I need to get on that! c. The walls are pretty bare in the lab. I just have my digital citizenship poster up, so there's not much to take down. I definitely need to take better advantage of that space.