Writing an objective every day was something that I was told was just good practice when it came to teaching. But it took me a couple years to really understand why.
My first year of teaching was full of frustrated floundering as I navigated the daily storm of doubt. I didn’t understand what I was teaching because I didn’t understand the end goal. I didn’t want every year to feel like that first one, so I have made a conscious effort to write an objective every day. It has not only transformed my ability to understand and focus on the task at hand, but it ensures my lessons are functional, and helps build a classroom community.
Focused and Functional
When I write an objective every day, it keys me in on the essential skills we want to cover and what it will take to get there. Without it, I am back to questioning “why” and I immediately feel less effective. This daily process makes sure that all my lessons are focused and functional, which then transfers to my students’ ability to carry what we do in class into their lives outside of high school.
“We” Instead of “Students”
When I started writing objectives, I wrote “Students will…” After a few years of that, I felt completely removed from the work going on in my classroom. I changed to “We will…” and felt a deeper sense of community building. By adding myself back into the equation and changing just one word, there is more involvement in our day-to-day operations.
One way to improve writing objectives is to use present tense verbs to actively describe what the students will be accomplishing that day.
- We will write and explain how characters are affected by the setting.
- We will use context clues to analyze new vocabulary terms in order to make connections to a text.
- We will read and annotate a mentor text to search for elements of setting that affect the characters.
Verbs like write, explain, analyze, clarify, compare and contrast, discuss, revise, read, etc. help clarify how students show their learning while the rest of the objective shows what they will have learned.
Writing an objective is an easy way to set the tone for the day – just like getting up and making your bed. It keeps me in check with the essential skills and communicates to the students what to take away from the day.
Display it proudly! Mine is written on a whiteboard right next to the agenda, and within eye sight of the entire room, and I update it every morning before class starts.
Finally, A Word of Caution
Don’t let objectives frustrate you. They are a tool that helps you and your students find daily purpose in the work you’re doing. If you forget to write a new objective on the board, shake it off and try again tomorrow. This is a year-long process and weekly mental challenge – but it is one that has great, long-lasting impacts on every mind in your room.
Let me know how you utilize objectives in your classroom.