I can statements on steroids

When I was last in my high school classroom, I graded for learning.  I had one general scale that I used for all of my I can statements (learning targets):

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 8.32.56 PM

It worked very well for me as a *really* holistic rubric, but I spent a large amount of the first month of school helping students see what each level meant.  While time-consuming, it was time well-spent, and since this rubric was used for every I can statement, students got a LOT of practice.  It also had the extra added bonus of teaching me how to write WAY better assessment questions, especially multiple choice questions where each choice corresponded to one of the first four levels in the chart above.

So, an obvious pro was vast improvement in my assessment-writing skills, and the con was that it took some time and planning.

But what if, instead of talking about generalities, you could be more specific?

In a previous post I mentioned I was working on some 6th grade social studies curriculum.  I had just deconstructed some of the inquiry skills present in the new Illinois Learning Standards for Social Studies at the time, but since then I have finished deconstructing the content standards.  You can check those out below (or click here):

This time, however, instead of having a general scale for all the I can statements, I have started creating individual rubrics for each one, with a 4-point scale instead of a 5-point scale.  An example of one is below:

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 9.19.16 PM

I like to think of these as “I can statements on steroids.”

If I were still teaching, I think I would spend the time up front making rubrics like this for all the I can statements.  (Well, not all of them for the entire year at once time; I would do this unit by unit.)  Here’s why:

  • WOW did this make me really nail down what mastery looked like (level 3) before instruction.  If I were teaching this, I would go into instruction knowing where students needed to be and be able to really design instruction for mastery.
  • These rubrics are great tools for students.  These would be great for student self-assessment, and students could check these as they work on learning activities to see how far away they were from mastery – and figure out what they need to do to get there on their own without a teacher having to check every single assignment.
  • These rubrics allow you to differentiate your instruction easily – both up and down.  Now, not every I can statement is going to lend itself to a days-long differentiated instruction episode; however, for those that warrant it, using these types of rubrics would allow for easier planning of differentiated learning stations.

To check out more of these rubrics, click here.  They are my first attempt and far from perfect, but feel free to steal whatever you’d like-or offer suggestions for improvement in the comments.



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