How to Set a Purpose with I Can Statements - Down River Resources

How to Set a Purpose with I Can Statements

Are you required to post daily learning targets, learning objectives, or "I Can" statements in your classroom? If so, I'm here to keep you afloat! There's a few key pieces of research-based practice that you should know before embarking on this new journey! Depending on your district or your campus administrators, your requirement for this task may look differently. Educational gurus, including John Hattie, Robert Marzano, and Doug Lemov, all agree that it is essential for you and your students to be clear about what you want them to learn in each lesson. You'll soon master how to set a purpose for your classroom using "I Can" statements this school year!


Using "I Can" Statements or Daily Learning Targets in Your Classroom


Are you framing your daily lessons? 


At the simplest level, a lesson frame represents the beginning and end of a lesson. There are two distinct parts that form a lesson frame.

The first part of a lesson frame is the daily learning objective. It is a quick summary statement of what the students can expect to learn within the lesson.

The second part is the closing question, product, or task. The closing question, product, or task clearly states how the students will demonstrate their personal learning of the daily objective. The students are required to prove to the teacher and themselves that learning took place by answering, producing, or completing a task.

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This hassle-free system allows teachers to display daily or weekly "I Can" Statements or Daily Learning Targets with ease! Daily Learning Target


The first part of a lesson frame is the daily learning objective. It is a quick summary statement of what the students can expect to learn within the lesson.

The daily learning objective addresses only a single day of instruction.

What specifically we will do TODAY?

It should be written in concrete, student-friendly language, in the form of a “We will…” statement.

We will identify the attributes of a circle.

The math standard might include the attributes of a variety of two-dimensional shapes, but we hone in on a very clear and specific element for each lesson.

Many schools have adopted the usage of "I can" to personalize the instruction.

TEACHER TIP: While stating the daily learning target at the beginning of the lesson, I use a visual cue so students make a connection to what I am referencing. I make a fist and simply punch out in front of me. {BAM! This is the target!} I do not make the sound effect, but they know it's like I am hitting the target! 

As I reference the target throughout the lesson, I might use that gesture again, and have the students tell me the target.

This visual cue helps us stay on track throughout the lesson. This stay clear!

Teaching Practice


Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion 2.0: 62 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College, suggests to display the daily lesson objective where everyone can see it in your classroom.

Posting the objective helps you, your students, and your administrators identify the purpose for teaching that day.

Students will watch better in the classroom if they know what they are looking for during the lesson.

Lemov points out that you can take this practice one step further by adding the objective part of the classroom conversation. Students can discuss, review, copy, or read the objective of the day.

Take it a step further! Tell your students WHY this matters and connect it to their prior learning.

Closing Question, Product, or Task


The second part is the closing question, product, or task. The closing question, product, or task clearly states how the students will demonstrate their personal learning of the daily objective. 

The demonstration of student
understanding serves as a conclusion of the lesson. It also provides proof to the teacher and student that the objective of the lesson was met. This is helpful information for the teacher to have so that no one’s academic struggles go unnoticed. This is a key to early intervention for students who are struggling.

The closing question, product, or task should address the specific objective and learning that occurred during the lesson. It should be written in concrete, student-friendly language, in the form of a “I will…” statement.

I will write down two attributes of a circle and share with my team.

Research Says...


John Hattie has found that teacher clarity is one of the most potent influences on student achievement. 

Robert Marzano, author of Classroom Instruction that Works, even includes lesson goals in his list of the top five factors that affect how well students do at school.

Get acquainted with your team and learn the specifics about your campus. If there is no requirement, I still highly recommend this technique in your classroom.

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't teach without stating and posting a lesson objective! 

It is research-based, and let's just face it, it makes sense. When you are going somewhere, it helps to know your destination!

In the words of a young, Texas athlete, J.J. Watts, "If you don't have that vision for the end goal, you have no clue where you're going, and you're going to work very hard to go nowhere."

If you are a Texas teacher and need a hassle-free system to help you stay on track as you set a daily or weekly purpose in your classroom, I have a simple solution! {available for TEKS grades K-5}

This hassle-free system allows teachers to display daily or weekly "I Can" Statements or Daily Learning Targets with ease!

I hope this post inspires you to use daily learning targets or "I Can" statements in your classroom and if your interested in using my "I Can" system, you can find it in my shop.

How will you display your statements in your classroom?


Make sure to pin and save this post for future reference.

This hassle-free system allows teachers to display daily or weekly "I Can" Statements or Daily Learning Targets with ease!

1 comment

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