Standard Reflection O1

January 21, 2013

O1. – Offer an organized curriculum aligned to standards and outcomes.

Teachers must endeavor to plan lessons that have learning targets for students with objectives that they can clearly understand. It is also important that these objectives be measurable in that students and teachers are able to gauge their progress towards these goals. It is important that students clearly understand what is expected of them, and also clearly understand what it is they’re trying to achieve. In this way, students can better plan for meeting targets and check their own progress.

One of the lessons I was recently writing was challenging. When I sought help from my mentor teacher he pointed out that my objectives were too broad and not easy to understand. This was an important part of lesson planning that I still struggle with. Making objectives clear for students is important as students in my class need to know that, for example, today we are learning how to use the brush tool. The objective, for them, is to demonstrate a simple exercise. Students by the end of this lesson will be able to render a composition with the brush tool.  Students will know the objective, be given the tools and instruction necessary, and assistance to achieve these targets. They will be able to see how far they’ve grown just by looking at what they have demonstrated. That is my hope, anyway.

clearerobjectives

On the road to clear, easily understood objectives and targets for students.

By understanding that objectives must be clear for students, I think it improves how students will come to understand what is expected of them in class. On more than one occasion, I have wondered if I was too vague, but with simple and clear objectives for students I can proudly state what is their target and how they can reach it. I’m sure that this not only helps me when writing a lesson, but students as well. When my objectives were too general and broad, I can recall more questions on what exactly was expected, but when they were simple and succinct, students were much more engaged in their task.

When planning objectives it is difficult for me to state explicitly, “This is what students will be able to do..” This statement sounds so simple, but to me it sounds restrictive. If a student will only be able to do this by the end of the lesson, where is my room for students to explore or find their own methods and means for success? Art is a topic where some areas are not measurable and where objectivity is not always an option. However, for many classrooms and even for much of an art classroom, it is important to offer these lesson where the objectives are made extremely clear to students. If I stated that by the end of the lesson the student will be able to paint a sunrise, they would still need the requisite skills in painting, even if their particular style makes it difficult to judge the quality of the painting (in some cases).  In this way, I think that planning these art lessons is difficult. Finding these measurable targets for learning in art is challenging. I want my students to be able to understand what it is they’re attempting to undertake, how they can get there, and also how close they are to achievement, but to tell them that their particular style is not conducive to my assessment of their progress is disheartening. It is something I constantly struggle with. Maybe with proper planning some of these doubts could be alleviate, but I am still suspicious. Perhaps my understanding of this standard is suspect.

It is extremely beneficial to have teachers wiser than I to look to for support.  With each lesson I write, I hope the objectives for myself and the students are clearer and more easily gauged. I will continue to ask my mentor for assistance on my plans, as his feedback is invaluable not only as a much more experienced teacher, but as a different perspective that lends itself well to some of my broader thoughts.

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