The principal and vice principal decided to give all teachers descriptions about Learning Goals and Success Criteria to hang up in their classrooms. These papers aren’t meant for students, but are more reminders for teachers about what Learning Goals and Success Criteria look like as we all work at developing our own.
It just so happened that the principal, Paul Clemens, came by with the papers to hang up this morning. As I was putting them up at lunch today, I read through them, and the focus on curriculum expectations really made me think. During math today, I planned on co-creating Success Criteria with my students for our unit on Order of Operations. Reading these sheets had me reflect on how I was going to do this.
Based on what I read, I decided to start the lesson by pulling up the Math curriculum document. We looked at a list of the five strands, and students told me that we would look for expectations under Number Sense and Numeration. Together we went through these expectations and highlighted the ones that are addressed by this math unit. Then we looked at our TLCP Success Criteria, and discussed how we need to develop I Can statements that link to our learning goal (i.e., We are learning about the need for a standard order in performing operations, and investigating what happens when we change this order.).
At this point, I’ll admit that I was worried. Developing Math Success Criteria is something that’s new for me, but since I’m focusing on math as part of my Annual Learning Plan, this seemed like a logical next step. Thankfully , one of my Daily Shoot photographers decided to take some videos today to show learning, instead of taking photographs, and a portion of this lesson was captured in the video below.
My initial plan was to finish now, but just the other day, I had a fantastic conversation with Jo-Ann Corbin-Harper, an amazing Grade 7 and 8 teacher at the school. Jo-Ann spoke to me about how she uses the achievement chart with her students, and how she has them identify which questions are assessing Knowledge and Understanding versus Thinking versus Communication versus Application. Until speaking to Jo-Ann, I never would have thought of doing this with my students, but Jo-Ann made me realize the value in having students understand the differences between questions and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.
I thought of Jo-Ann at this moment then, and I showed the students the achievement chart. We spoke briefly about Knowledge and Understanding, Thinking, Communication, and Application. I explained that our Success Criteria needs to address all four areas. Together, we need to determine if it does. These next two short videos show my discussion with students, as we add K’s and U’s, T’s (or Th’s), C’s, and A’s beside each item in the Success Criteria.
When I started this lesson, I questioned if I was expecting too much. I wondered the value in doing what I was doing. As I listen back to these recordings though, I realize that I need to go through this process more. Getting students involved in the process really makes them reflect on their learning and understand the rationale behind what we do in the classroom.
I know that I continue to have more to learn as well. I wonder if some of the items on the Success Criteria are more items that belong on an Anchor Chart, and I wonder if we need to reword some of this Success Criteria to show a more direct link with the curriculum expectations. What do you think? I’ll be examining this more as I continue to use Learning Goals and Success Criteria in math.
While this lesson is not perfect, I know that the students and I both learned a lot from this activity. So thank you to Paul (the principal), Tammy (the vice principal), and Jo-Ann (the Grade 7 and 8 teacher) for changing my teaching practices and making me realize just what students can do.
How do you create Success Criteria with your students? How do you have your students examine and understand the curriculum expectations? I would love to hear about your experiences!