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Using a Learning Target Throughout a Lesson

Kindergarten students in Lori Laliberte's class at the Odyssey School in Denver, CO, engage in “unpacking” learning targets that will guide their work writing thank you letters. Learning targets articulate a clear vision of the intended learning as a first step toward achieving success.

This video accompanies the book Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools through Student-Engaged Assessment.


- So just to get us settled, I’m just gonna share a couple pages from a book that has something to do with our writing targets today.

- [Child] Our writing targets.

- First one up here says, I can name the three main parts of a letter. In your head, see if you can name them to yourself quietly. Our second target is, I can explain the purpose or reason why we send a letter. Our expedition is about insects and recently our Bessbugs passed away and the kids are really sad about that and so the Bessbug company agreed to send replacement bugs and it gave us a real reason to know how to write a thoughtful thank you letter. So the kids are in the process of writing those letters now. We started today by looking at a strong model. We actually looked at the letter that the Bessbug company sent to us. We identified the three main parts on that letter. Good work and our last part, Gabe would you find... And decided that we would also write letters including those three parts. And our purpose today was to send them a thank you for replacing the Bessbugs that had died in our classroom. It could say, it can ask a question. Did that letter ask us any questions?

- [Students Together] No.

- No? What do you think, Enzo?

- [Enzo] To send some love?

- To send some love, definitely. So they went to do their independent practice, I think keeping those purposes in mind and then came back for debrief where we assessed how far they had gotten writing their letters and also use the Exit Ticket to see if they were able to identify the three main parts of a letter. Who can remind the crew of what our two targets were today when we sat down for writers workshop? Isabelle can you tell me one of them?

- [Isabelle] I can name three main parts of a letter.

- [Teacher] I can name the three main parts of a letter, that’s great. What was our second target, Alex?

- I can explain the purpose of sending a letter.

- I can explain the purpose of sending a letter. So our Exit Ticket today, and we’ve done these before, is going to ask you again to really think about what those three main parts are of a letter. When thinking about building learning targets, I try to make them so that they’re not very text heavy so that kids can navigate them easily and that they focus on one aspect of quality at a time. By the end of the workshop, kids know what they know and I know what they know.

- Oh yeah that’s one.

- [Teacher] The kids sat down in a circle and they were able to self-assess whether or not they met the first target.

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