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SLO - Student Learning Objectives are really about growth and growing children and not meeting standards as the primary focus. Last night I attend the second session for the class my district is offering. I stayed after the class to review some work our teacher had us do during the class. I wanted to ask my questions then while it was still fresh. In thinking about a prospective target, I was taking a Common Core standard and rewriting it as it is stated just to get started. We've done a lot of work in recent years with unpacking the curriculum, writing I can statements and figuring out what new curriculum is really asking and/or stating. Everything has to connect to the standards and we are constantly asking, are students meeting the expectations? We want students to meet expectations but I know sometimes this is limiting for many students. It might be a narrow lens and to move learning forward we need to make that lens a wide angle.
This work however is different. Student Learning Objects are to guide our work with students to achieve growth. Growth is different for each child. This is going to cause us to personalize education to achieve growth. While we have to keep the standard expectations in perspective and strive to have all children reach that, SLO are asking us to set a plan in action where each child grows. For some children, they grow significant amounts and may not be meeting the standard and others meet the standard easily and we have to grow them beyond the expectant standard. Therefore our SLO goals need to include a range of learners allowing growth for the ranges of abilities in our rooms. I think if you live in a world with value added where no one explains the little black box formula and decides for you who is growing and who isn't then Student Learning Objectives might be the answer to empower teachers. We are going to use or improve what we are currently doing to gather baseline data, plan instruction, teach, re-asses, adjust, plan instruction, teach, always charting growth for students.
I came home and looked over my notes again to clarify my thinking about SLO targets.
-What content will the SLO target?
-To what related standards is the SLO aligned?
-What will you teach?
-What will students learn?
-Consider the most important skills student s need to master.
-What are the essential learnings?
-What are the important concepts or skills?
My notes said to list or code the standards so this isn't rewriting them as is. I think I prefer the word SLO goal, in seems a bit more global.
During our conversation my teacher said you can include more than one content standard. You want a target to stretch your children and grow your children based on what you discover about your children. This is not a space to restate the content standards, this is to be in your own words. I hope I didn't panic her with my misconception and learning tonight, it was just a fog from spring break. I'm glad I took the time to stay after because it was a huge ah ha moment for me. My students don't really have the opportunity to stay after school and ask me questions, but maybe I need to listen more on our way to specials, lunch, or recess to see if are things I need to hear to help them grow.
I admire the way you are working to figure all of this out. I'm thankful that you are taking the time to reflect on your thinking about SLOs. When I read your posts I always find myself breathing a little easier.