Objectives (a.k.a. Learning Targets, Learning Outcomes, CLOs, SLOs, etc.)

Objectives are hard. Well, knowing your goal or what you’re teaching usually isn’t that hard, but writing it in the way that fits your district while being student friendly (and not letting it take over your life) can be hard. I remember a conversation with my sister-in-law (high school English teacher) during my first year of teaching and explaining to her that just writing the first slide that I showed to my classes was taking me an hour every single day (we’re required to post the Content-Language Objective, homework, schedule, and Do Now at the beginning of class). That year, I had six sections (four preps) and was brand new to teaching middle school. So, keeping track of who was learning what and and getting different slides ready each day took me FOREVER. I am a bit of an organization freak, so I was copying and pasting slides into my daily FlipChart, changing the objectives, changing the agenda, and it was so overwhelming.

I have since gotten better at keeping track of things, and I have a few different ways of writing the objective that makes it a little bit less work for my CI classes (Spanish Language Arts is a different animal. I don’t have any shortcuts except to reuse a unit from a previous year so I already have the CLO’s written.)

Luckily, I’m in a district that supports the concept that language IS our content, so I have a sort-of overarching objective always posted on my wall that says:


Some teachers modify this overarching  objective to be more specific such as the following examples:

Last year, I was using an interactive objective each day which looked like this:

On the left-hand side, I listed class activities, and on the right-hand side are statements taken from the ACTFL Can Do statements (modified for my needs).  At the bottom of the page, hidden under a text-box, I have other activities and Can Do statements.

What’s great about this way of writing objectives is that it’s possible to build it while the students are in class and have students help you to build it!!!  Now, if you do this type of objective in English, it takes away from language acquisition time, so you have think about if it is truly necessary. I did take the time to use this interactive objective nearly every day last year, but, haven’t been using it as much this year. I felt like students understanding the WHY behind the activities really helped with buy-in!

This year, I’ve been using my interactive objective to introduce a new activity. For example, before my first MovieTalk of the year, I showed this slide, and we quickly discussed the fact that the purpose of MovieTalk is to acquire new vocabulary in context and recycle old vocabulary, not to simply entertain them (being entertained is an added bonus!!).  It’s a great visual for students to realize that no matter what is on the left-hand side up much of what we are doing has the same Can Do statement/objective on the right-hand side.

One of my favorite things is to leave the activities blank like this:


I then let students fill in the blank!!! Students love to “choose” what we are doing in class that day. More often than not (including one of my classes today!), students choose to create a class story using our unit vocabulary.  From time to time, students have picked to “just talk” (as in, personalized question and answer related to the unit vocabulary), so prep is pretty predictable for me on these days.

I hope this helps! I’d love to know your thoughts on OBJECTIVES as I’m always looking to improve!!! 🙂

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