Recently I had the opportunity to provide some job-embedded PD in a 5th grade classroom. The teacher had invited me to co-teach with her so that I could demonstrate some differentiation strategies. I began by drawing the target on the board. Then I asked the students if they had ever seen something that looked like this. Several hands went up. I called on one of the young men and asked him what it looked like.
Expecting to hear something like “it looks like a dartboard,” I was surprised when he said, “It looks like the earth.”
Not quite the response I was looking for! Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to follow up with, “Tell me more about your thinking.”
He responded, “It looks like the layers of the earth we have been studying and the arrow is pointing to the core.”
Perfect! Isn’t that exactly what a learning target should be? Aiming for the core of the lesson – that essential element that is most important for students to achieve. I love it when students say such profound things and don’t even realize it!