# No more child-friendly "I can" statements...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mami1Maestra2, Sep 4, 2019.

1. ### Mami1Maestra2Rookie

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Sep 4, 2019

Apparently our new super doesn't approve of child-friendly written "I can" statements.

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Sep 4, 2019

We don't use them in my district... mainly because our focus is inquiry-based learning, and we don't want to tell the kids what they are supposed to be learning before they learn it. We want them to discover/construct it.

I've worked in a district and at a charter school that did use them, though. I much prefer not using them.

Does your super have a problem with the statement itself or with it being child-friendly?

4. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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I love them! I have a kid read them every day. I actually felt like my classroom management improved a bit last year when I had a student read the objective and talk about vocabulary.

Bella, my new school uses an inquiry based curriculum for math and we still have I can statements. I think our statement for today was something like "I can explain the meaning of area."

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Interesting. It was our math coach who specifically told me not to post objectives when I was new to the district. She told me that we didn't want to give the learning away until the end of the lesson. We follow a math workshop structure (and reading workshop and writing workshop).

6. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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I have found that they can work with inquiry based lessons if you don't give away the "ending."

For example, if kids were discovering the rule for dividing fractions, the objective could be:

-I can look for patterns in fraction division problems (to find a rule for dividing fractions.)

but it shouldn't be:

-I can divide fractions by multiplying by the reciprocal.

I find that having a general I can statement can help some kids understand the focus + direction of the lesson, which is why I like having the kids read it. I also see why some teachers wouldn't have one though.

7. ### Ima TeacherVirtuoso

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We have used all sorts of variations. Standard. Focus question. Deconstructed standard statements. Kid-friendly standard. I can statement.

I am currently using “Today I am . . . so that I can . . . . I’ll know I’ve got it when . . . .” It works well for me.

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8. ### waterfallVirtuoso

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Our district requirement is "We are learning to (language from standard) ______ by (activity). Along with success criteria that has to be, "We will know we are successful when _______." We have to unpack it with kids and refer to it throughout the lesson, and then have them reflect on it at the end.

We were told not to use "I can" because if they can, why are we teaching it. It's supposed to be something they're learning. The language from the standard typically isn't super wordy/the whole standard- it may just be the verb.

Sometimes its a PITA and it is extra work, but honestly the focus on it has made my lessons a lot better. I'm much more intentional about planning knowing that everything has to relate back to the target and I need to be able to show that to students. Some teachers obsess over the targets and go back and forth with their teams trying to find the "perfect" wording, and I think that's just silly. I'm intentional, but there is no need to spend 30 minutes on it. I think that's what burns people out with this stuff. My school is very big on direct/explicit/systematic instruction. And I have to say it works. We are a high poverty/high performance school. Just because of learning targets? Certainly not, but the intentionality does play a part.

9. ### otterpopPhenom

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Sep 4, 2019

Can you give an example of that? Particularly wondering about the last part.

10. ### AcesDevotee

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Today I'm learning how to balance chemical equations so that I can correctly complete an experiment with multiple chemicals. I'll know I've got it when I can successfully and repeatedly balance equations without help or with very little.

11. ### a2zVirtuoso

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I've always seen "I can" statements as the solution to observation issues. When a student is being asked what they are learning, they often didn't have an answer because it had to be generated and that isn't always a strong point for young children. Having them recite "I can" statements plants that seed so when asked what they can do they have a pre-programmed answer.

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My district is very big with them, or at least on having a variation of them. Mine is more of the objective with a "I am successful when..." Statement.

I like them well enough and it does give some intention. Yet I wonder if they're merely just the latest fad.

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13. ### a2zVirtuoso

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I would say they are a fad like everything else in education. Our model expects changes and "forward thinking" even though many of the new things are recycled things from the past with either new names or no one left who remembers them.

I think these statements can lack specificity. For example, how difficult of equations are you supposed to be balancing? Some are so easy, you don't need to understand the concept, just a procedure to do them. Others require deep understanding in order to master. So, is this just a nudge in the right direction for students or will students believe they have mastered something because they have met the very fringes of the task?

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@a2z like you said, they rather seem to be best suited to observation. Which makes me wonder about other benefits.

Last edited: Sep 5, 2019

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Got to my classroom to actually check what I use because I didn't know.

"I will be able to... I am successful when..."

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16. ### nstructorCohort

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Sep 5, 2019

What grade/subject do you teach? My school is high poverty/low performing, but I'd love to hear what a lesson of yours would look like. Thank you,

17. ### waterfallVirtuoso

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I'm a sped teacher and spend much of my day teaching explicit phonics. However, it's not just sped kids getting this type of instruction. Every child in the building gets at least 30 minutes of intervention daily with a similar structure of lessons. This past year, they also added in a 30 minute whole group block in classrooms that follows a similar phonics structure, and then kids who need it are getting it again because it's also the focus of their gen ed small groups (rather than generic "guided reading.") The most struggling students often get a 2nd 30-45 minute pull out group (with me or an interventionist) also.

Here's an example of what I might do with say a 2nd or 3rd grade group in 30 minutes:

Learning Target: We are learning to decode words by identifying, reading, and spelling words with vowel teams.
Success Criteria: We will know we are successful if we can identify, read, and spell words with the "oa" vowel team.

We all have Apple TVs and most teachers make google slideshows for each lesson- the learning target is required to be posted on the bottom of each page. I connect back to the target whenever possible (i.e.- "This activity is helping us with the spelling part of the learning target.")

-Introduce the learning target with some kind of visual for the new phonics pattern (i.e. maybe a picture of a boat)
-Share an agenda for the lesson
-Review previously learned phonics pattern cards- students say the name(s) and the sound(s)
-Some sort of phonemic awareness activity with the new sound- i.e. read a list of words and students stand up if they hear the target sound and sit down when they don't
-Give students a page of words including the new skill and previously learned skills. They spend 1-2 minutes underlining words with the new pattern.
-Students read the entire list with a partner (they've been taught structures for partner reading previously)
-Read sentences (where the new target pattern is heavily featured) chorally and then with a partner.
-Read decodable text chorally and then with a partner. Depending on time, sometimes students are given 2 minutes or so to underline the new phonics pattern in the text.
-Dictated sounds (10)- I say a sound, students write all the ways to spell it. I.e. if I said the long o sound, they'd write "o, o-e, oa." Students say it while they write it.
-Dictated words (10)- Several words with the new target pattern as well as review patterns. Students repeat the word and then write it. When I see everyone has it it, they spell it out loud and repeat the word.
-Dictated sentences (2). Students check their writing against a checklist of what every sentence needs and then we review together.
-Review learning target/success criteria and students share something they feel like they really understood and next steps based on the criteria with a partner, then volunteers share out.

We also have pretty strict and common behavior expectations so students are held accountable for paying attention and participating the whole time. I have them constantly doing something with no downtime so there is no time to misbehave or let their minds wander. Pacing is very quick. Any time they read with a partner I send them to a different part of the room so they can get up and move a few times during the lesson. I spend time at the beginning of the year explicitly teaching how you keep your eyes on the text when your partner is reading and politely ask them to go back and try again if you hear something that sounds wrong, and then I hold them to that expectation throughout the year.

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18. ### Ima TeacherVirtuoso

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Here is ours from today.

Today I am writing an essay so that I can explain how Edgar Allan Poe creates an unreliable narrator in the short story “The Tell Tale Heart”. I’ll know I’ve got it when I create a proficient essay that correctly identifies three ways Poe creates an unreliable narrator.

That gets reading and writing and language standards in there. It’s their summative assessment for this part of the unit. They’ve had weekly quizzes on individual standards, and then they culminate in a big project that combines multiple standards. (Last year we did essays, speeches, and podcasts, just to name a few.)

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19. ### Mami1Maestra2Rookie

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Sep 5, 2019

I have to say, I am loving the "We are learning..." and "I am successful when." One AP didn't like that I put "We will be able to " instead of "I can" because she didn't want the kids to get confused. *insert eye roll*

Saying " we are learning" makes so much more sense!

The "I can" statements are so long...the teachers are spending more time getting the kids to repeat them than they are teaching the actual lesson. lol

20. ### otterpopPhenom

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Thanks.

I can certainly see the value in that, but phew, that's a mouthful. Do you write a new statement each day?

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21. ### Ima TeacherVirtuoso

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They are usually by the week. I used my Cricut to cut letters for the parts that stay the same. It makes filling in the other less difficult.

22. ### miss-mDevotee

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I feel like I've seen this format before but I really like it! I might have to start using that with my class. I have a few kids who can articulate what we're leaning with the I can statement, but most of them may need the extra pieces to help focus their learning.

23. ### TeacherNYMaven

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I saw the Cricut at Michael's and now I want one!! Dumb question but how do you pronounce it? I heard someone say it like "Cricket" and I was like

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24. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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I got an awesome education without any "I CAN" statements on the board.

25. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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Saying it like Cricket is right because it sounds like a cricket when it cuts and the logo is a little green cricket. It sounds weird when someone says "Cry Cut" for Cricut.

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But “cry cut” is phonetically correct, which is why I always find it weird when people call it “cricket”. But I’m not a user of a Cricut, not do I personally know anyone who is, so it’s not a term I use too often anyway.

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I know the guy who invented it. Super nice.
That's as much as I have used the product.

28. ### Tired TeacherConnoisseur

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We don't use " I can " statements here either. I do something like what your district does because it fits better with the way I teach.

29. ### YoungTeacherGuyPhenom

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Lots of teachers here in CA own a Cricut—especially educators here in my district!!! Heck, I have one, too. It’s a “thing” around here, I guess. I absolutely love it, though. Anyway, I have never heard of anyone calling it a “cry cut”. I find that so bizarre.

30. ### YoungTeacherGuyPhenom

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I love this post!!! It just makes so much sense to me!

31. ### TeacherGroupieModerator

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Oho! Yes: between the sound the device makes and the logo, it seems quite likely that a pronunciation like "cricket" was intended. (Lovely pun. I like puns. A pun is not only the shortest distance between two straight lines - you groaned, yes? please? - but a fine way to get TeacherGroupie up on one or another of her linguistic hobbyhorses. So saddle up, buckaroos...)

"Phonetically" refers strictly to sounds and how they're produced and perceived; spelling is irrelevant. (Years ago, I knew that things were getting serious between my college friend H. and the Vancouverian guy she'd met at Club Med when H., who was a native of San Diego and spoke like one, suddenly started pronouncing "about" and "house" and the like as natives of British Columbia do. That's phonetics. If anyone wants this explained, feel free to ask, though I may elect to be a good little moderator and launch a new thread for it.) I suspect bella's electronic device attempted to Be Helpful, as such devices so often do, by autocorrecting to "phonetically" from the intended "phonically". And I think most teachers of kindergartners would have no problem accepting <cricut> as a plausible and insightful invented spelling for "cricket". In any case, while short vowel before single consonant is unusual, it's not unattested: after all, the first E in "recommend" is pronounced short, not long.

With all that said, if Backroads's friend the inventor had consulted me, I would have, um, recommended a slightly different spelling. <Crickut>, while it would answer bella's phonics-based objection, would obscure the function pun, and that's simply intolerable. But doubling the <c> should do the job, and that would yield the spelling <Criccut>.

Not that I was asked, alas.

In any case, thanks, YoungTeacherGuy and Tired Teacher, for valiantly yoinking this thread back onto its original topic.

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32. ### waterfallVirtuoso

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Thankfully my current admin doesn't do walkthroughs where they come around and ask the students what the learning target is. My other two schools did and I definitely did waste a lot of time making sure the kids could spit out the statement when asked.

I just saw a meme on FB that said something like "Research shows no learning actually occurred prior to 2008 because there were no "I can" statements on the board."

33. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Last year, I had to put the essential question, Common Core standard (with the correct letters+numbers+language, Objective, Homework, and Agenda. We never looked at the essential question or the standard.

This year, I just have up the homework, the agenda, and the objective which is really all I need.

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I still don't know why my district cares so much.

The kids are in first grade. Most of them can't read the statement. Most of them tune out half way through repeating it.

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35. ### Ms.HolyokeConnoisseur

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Yeah...I really don't see the point for 1st grade.

That's how I feel about being required to keep the common core standard up. It is just one more thing we have to do that makes no impact on student learning.

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Thanks, TeacherGroupie. You are correct. I should have said phonically, not phonetically. My statement was intended to point out that the multisyllable word "cricut" contains an open syllable followed by a closed syllable (cri/cut). As such, the i in "cri-" should be pronounced with the long vowel sound. The word "recommend" follows this rule and is phonically correct, as the syllable breaks would be rec/om/mend (three separate closed syllables, each with a short vowel sound). It's not so much about the number of consonants after the vowels but, rather, where the syllable division occurs. Regardless, I understand the pun in Cricut and can appreciate it. I was only stating my confusion with reading the word on a few occasions, as I have no in-person experience with the machine, either talking about it or seeing one. This highlights the importance of background knowledge for our students as readers. If it's not an experience one has had, regardless of knowing the phonics rules, one may have difficulty with accurate reading.

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37. ### gr3teacherPhenom

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I have to have "I am... so that I... I'll know I've gotten it when..." stuff. It's irritating to me. It's pure busywork, and half the time I forget to change it.

38. ### TeacherNYMaven

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That's what I assumed. They are pretty expensive so I probably won't get one anyway LOL

39. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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We have one in the classroom. I now teach HS self-contained SPE (life skills and voc skills). I'm teaching mine how to run the machine, weed the vinyl and use the heat press, too. I wrote a grant last year for it. I sure don't have the money to buy my own. LOL

40. ### SpecialPreskooModerator

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For the longest I didn't know how to pronounce it. LOL I would say "cricket, cry cut, however you say it" each time. haha.

I saw a youtube tutorial and they explained the pronunciation.

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