Students Need Clear Learning Targets [Resources Included]

The hot and humid breeze of summer is upon us all.  For teachers and administrators it is a time to reflect and think about what changes we will make next year.  Throughout the year you probably have read some blog posts and articles that may have resonated with you, and now summer presents an opportunity to reflect on ways to implement those ideas for next year.

I read an article in Ed. Leadership a few months ago that has continued to resonate with me. The article,  Knowing Your Learning Target, explored an elementary school’s journey in being intentional about setting learning targets for students and clearly displaying them. 

I like the way Moss, Brookeheart, and Long explain the idea of shared learning targets:
“They convey to students the destination for the lesson—what to learn, how deeply to learn it, and exactly how to demonstrate their new learning. In our estimation (Moss & Brookhart, 2009) and that of others (Seidle, Rimmele, & Prenzel, 2005; Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis, 2009), the intention for the lesson is one of the most important things students should learn. Without a precise description of where they are headed, too many students are ‘flying blind.’ (Moss, Brookhart, Long – 2011)”

How often are you setting clear learning targets for students, and are those visible for every lesson?  Are your days designed to truly promote critical thinking and constructive learning, while working toward a clear and meaningful shared goal/target?  How can you plan this summer so that you effectively create and display shared learning targets in your classroom?   As an administrator one of the most telling gauges I have for classrooms in which I observe is asking students what they are doing and why they are doing it.

I encourage you to read the full article here:  Knowing Your Learning Target, and also to check out the chart on constructing student learning targets.

Below are some resources I created for you to use and share:

Learning Target – PDF

Learning Target – PPT Slide

Learning Target – Keynote Slide

“Students who don’t know the intention of a lesson expend precious time and energy trying to figure out what their teachers expect them to learn (Moss, Brookhart, Long – 2011).
Source: Educational Leadership –
March 2011 | Volume 68 | Number 6
What Students Need to Learn -Pages 66-69
Knowing Your Learning Target
Connie M. Moss, Susan M. Brookhart and Beverly A. Long
Image: Some rights reserved by pulguita (Modified by Chris Atkinson)


What do you think?

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