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I Can Statements

I Can Statements

Author: Kathleen Johnson

In this lesson, students understand the purpose of I Can Statements and how to use them in their instruction.

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Video Transcription

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you are having a wonderful day today. Today, we're going to be looking at I Can statements. And for today's lesson I've chosen a quote by Nelson Mandela which states, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." And I Can statements are all about involving children in their own education. By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to understand the purpose of I Can statements, write I Can statements aligned to standards, and understand the relationship between I Can statements, standards, competencies, and objectives.

First, let's go ahead and look at a little overview of those I Can statements. First and foremost, I Can statements are statements of what a student should be able to do by the end of a certain instructional time period. These statements are also known as learning targets. However, when you take a learning target which could be written in teacher language or a more adult and educational terms, the I Can statement is written in kid-friendly language. It's broken down to allow the student to track their own progress towards meeting certain target goals. A major goal in education is really to have students help take ownership over their own learning. And that's what this really helps us do.

Also, these, then, are based on learning goals or standards. So they're focused in on what students should be able to do by the end of lessons, and units, and objectives, the end of the entire course. But they are broken down into smaller bits. So they're more manageable. And those change depending on what grade level you're teaching.

Finally, it's important to know, like we said before, that the main purpose of I Can statements is really for students to be able to track and monitor their progress towards meeting those goals. And then teachers can use them as tools to help students achieve those goals. Since they're able to frame the standards in a way that students can understand, they feel a greater sense of achievement. And they are clearer on when they've met that.

Now, let's take a look at the process of creating I can statements. First and foremost, we are going to create those I can statements from standards or learning goals. So we're going to begin, first, with the standard that's addressed in the lesson. Either you start with the standard and develop the lesson or you have your lesson and you identify what the standard is that aligns it and is achieved through that lesson.

Then you're going to go ahead and break down that standard and rewrite it in kid-friendly language. Not all standards are going to be covered the same way in each lesson. So make sure you determine the degree to which that standard is covered and then rewrite those portions in that kid-friendly language.

There are a lot of different ways to use kid-friendly language. But the main a process for using that would be that it is, first and foremost, developmentally appropriate. If you are teaching elementary age students, you do not want to use excessively complex vocabulary, technical terms, those kinds of things. Also, it's important to note that when you're writing in kid-friendly language, you want to make sure that you write it one goal at a time so that it's easier to understand and digest.

Once you have those written, you're going to want to make sure that you can provide those statements to the students. You can do that through individual copies. Some people put those I Can statements on assignments themselves. You can also post them up on a board in the room.

In my room, there is a calendar where it looks at what we do for the week. And then the I Can statements for each class are right next to that. So students can always go back and see them. That visual is really nice. And the board is always there. A student might forget an assignment, but the board never leaves. Or, you can have them on reflection sheets and exits slips where you poll the students asking them to reflect on how well they met or achieved mastery for those various I Can statements.

Now, let's go ahead and take a look at a couple of examples. Here is a way that you can use a math and ISTE standards to create I Can statements. So for our standards, I've used the geometry standard from the Common Core Math Standards, which has students in third grade reasoning with shapes and their attributes. Then I took the ISTE standard of communication and collaboration. Using these two different standards, I've developed the following I Can statements. First, I can identify different geometrical shapes. You'll notice it's short. It's sweet. It's simple. It's targeted to one learning target. And these are for third graders. So we want to make sure that they're not only advancing their vocabulary, but we're not pushing them too far.

I can work with my group to see how different shapes move to create new shapes. And I can use digital tools to present the different polygon shapes and names. Again, combining both of those standards together in simple I Can statements for our lesson.

Next, let's look at an example from English language arts, history, and ISTE. I wanted to give you a more complicated example than one you might see. So this is one where both English language arts and history are working together on an assignment. So the standards are for World History Standards-Era 6-- The Emergence of the First Global Age from 1450-1770. Then we're going to look at the Language Arts Literacy Standards for Writing in grades 9 and 10-- write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences. And then the ISTE Standard 3-- Research and Information Fluency.

All of these are going to work together in a lesson plan that involves Guy Fawkes. And these I Can statements will reflect that. I can use digital tools to research the historical details of Guy Fawkes and his accomplishments. Again, hitting both the ISTE standards there that we're looking at as well as some of those world history standards focusing in on that time period. I can use dialogue and figurative language to write a narrative. That one goes right to that literacy standard. And I can create a digital presentation of a fictional dialogue between Guy Fawkes and his accomplices that is based on historical research.

So again, there are many different ways they could do that. Students could do a video of themselves pretending to be Guy Fawkes. They could create an animated short. They could simply present this on a Prezi or on a Google Doc. The opportunities are really endless to combine these three different standards.

Now that we've reached the end of the lesson, you have been able to understand the purpose of I Can statements, write I Can statements aligned to those standards, and understand the relationship between I Can statements, standards, competencies, and those various objectives. Now, that we've reached the end of the lesson, I want you to take a minute and reflect on the own teaching that you will be doing. What are different ways that you can help create these I Can statements from the lessons you currently teach?

Feel free to go ahead and find more information and how to apply that information in the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video. The Additional Resources section is incredibly helpful and it includes hyperlinks that are useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource. That's all we have for right now. Have a great rest of your day.

Notes on "I Can Statements"

(00:00-00:20) Intro

(00:21-00:35) Objectives

(00:36-02:10) I Can Statements Overview

(02:11-04:01) Creation Process

(04:12-05:00) Math & ISTE Standard Example

(05:01-06:31) ELA, History & ISTE Standard Example

 (06:32-06:47) Review

(06:48-07:26) Reflection

Additional Resources

How I CAN Statements Can Work For You

This blog post offers examples of I Can Statements and ways to use rationale. In addition, the author offers an easy to use student reflection sheet for students to monitor their progress toward meeting the targets.