Written by Aaron Roberts and Joe Muhlberg
Clearly defined goals set the environment for personalized learning to flourish. Goals are- first and foremost- defined by our academic standards. Alongside these are goals from other bodies: researched best practices, writing skills, literacy skills, our Habits of Mind, and digital citizenship.
Once goals are clearly defined, we recognize that every goal can be addressed through a multitude of methods and activities. Those activities can be co-created with students in a way that offers them voice and choice in their learning.
Michelle Bruewer is reading The Crucible with her literature class inside of a unit on rhetoric. Before beginning Act 2, she spent time considering the standards, the unit topic, and the text. Through the brainstorm, she identified what students should be able to do- “Critique the flaws and victories of one character’s persuasion.”
Last Friday, Ms. Bruewer gave students ownership of the goal by writing it on the board and asking her students to list synonyms for critique. The result- the learning goal is challenging, clear, and includes student voice.
Students are now set up to co-create the learning path in an attempt to answer the question, “How are we going to reach our goal?” Rather than giving a predetermined worksheet to use throughout the rest of the play, Ms. Bruewer gave students a voice in the conversation.
Take a look at this video to see an example of how co-creation of the learning path is a natural result of posing challenging learning goals.