Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

How to Set Objectives for a Lesson Plan

Objectives are appealing because they aim to make daily learning as statistical as standardized test scores. Teachers know that sometimes learning doesn't work in a linear way and often balk at setting objectives. However, objectives can be a useful tool to keep your lessons focused on task, and keep students from asking, "Why are we doing this?" That alone is reason enough to incorporate objectives into your lesson planning

Match your objectives to your state standards. This helps you document which standards you covered, and when and how you covered them. When you write your objectives, you can even pull language from the state standards if your objectives are for you and your administrator. However, if you share objectives with students, avoid educational jargon and keep the language accessible for them.

Think about your students before crafting objectives. Obviously, objectives for a freshman college seminar will be drastically different from those for a first-grade class. Make sure your objectives are reasonable for the level. The higher the grade, the more abstract the objectives and the harder they are to measure.

Ask yourself what you want the students to be able to do by the time the lesson is over. Make sure the answer to that question is something you can assess. Assessment can be something big like a test at the end of the week or something as small as having the students do a "ticket to leave" activity on their way out the door.

Figure out how to get the students to learn what you're teaching. Decide what kinds of assignments or activities you'll use to give them practice in or exposure to your topic.

Determine the degree to which you want your students to have mastery over the skill. If you're shooting for exposure to a topic, perhaps you only want them to know a few key words or phrases; if it was the culmination of a unit, you probably want in-depth knowledge or perfect execution of a concept or skill. This step can also help drive what kind of assessment you create.

Put it all together into a sentence. For example, "Students will be able to define and identify irony through discussion about and interaction with three O. Henry short stories." This would be measurable by a few questions at the end of an O. Henry packet about irony or by having students highlight the 'twist' in the story.

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