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I Can Statements

I Can Statements

Author: Jody Waltman

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

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In this tutorial, you'll learn to write "I can" statements that are aligned with your standards. We'll begin with an overview of "I can" statements. And we'll learn about how and why to use them.

Then, we'll talk about creating "I can" statements from your standards or learning goals, using student-friendly language. We'll look at some ways to share "I can" statements with students. And finally, we'll share some examples. Let's get started.

"I can" statements are statements that indicate what a student should be able to do at the end of an instructional period. Sometimes, "I can" statements are called learning targets. "I can" statements are written in student-friendly language. This allows students to track their own progress in meeting the learning targets and to reflect on their progress.

"I can" statements should break larger learning goals or standards into smaller more targeted chunks. So "I can" statements are generally written then at the target level, stating just a simple, singular goal for a single lesson or a set of lessons. So how and why should you use "I can" statements?

Well, "I can" statements help to increase students ownership of their own learning. This is a major goal in education. The "I can" statements frame the standards and goals in a student-friendly way. This allows them to take ownership of their own learning and track and monitor their progress towards the learning targets in the standards.

Let's learn how to create "I can" statements from your standards or learning goals. To begin, select the particular standard or goal that you are going to be addressing in the current lesson or series of lessons. Then you need to determine the level of coverage. In other words, break objectives down into specific learning targets. Identify competencies that are going to be addressed during that specific period of instruction.

And then, write a series of statements, each beginning with the words "I can," that outline the path that students will follow and each of the skills that the students will obtain by the end of the instructional period. Be sure to use developmentally appropriate language and vocabulary so that students can understand and approach these "I can" statements. You don't want to use vocabulary that is excessively complex or technical. And you want to be sure to write these "I can" statements at the target level, just one learning goal in each "I can" statement, so that they're easier to understand. And it's easier for students to track their progress.

It's important to have the "I can" statements made available to students. So here are some ways that you can accomplish this. You can use individual data binders. You can post the "I can" statements in the classroom. You can include them on individual assignments. Or you can provide them on reflection sheets that students can use to monitor and reflect on their own progress towards meeting the learning targets.

Here are a few examples. Here is a Common Core literacy standard from grades 9 and 10. Students are asked to use various types of phrases, including nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, et cetera, and clauses, independent, dependent, et cetera to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to their writing or presentations.

"I can" statements that might be generated from this standard would include: I can use an adjective to describe a noun in a complete sentence. This pulls out just one of those types of phrases and identifies it for students so they know what they're working towards. I can identify independent and dependent clauses. Again, this is a more targeted skill. And the language in the "I can" statement is carefully selected to be both approachable to students and accurate to the standard.

Here's one more. I can write a sentence that uses a dependent clause to add interest. This combines the two separate portions of this literacy standard, again, written in kid-friendly language.

Let's look at a math Common Core example for grade five. This standard asks students to be able to add and subtract fractions that do not share the same denominator. So we might have students begin with the statement, I can identify fractions with like denominators. After all, if students can't identify whether or not two fractions have the same denominator, they're not going to be able to approach the rest of the standard.

Next, we might write, I can add fractions with like denominators. Again, this skill is working towards having students be able to add fractions with unlike denominators. So finally, we might write, I can find and use a common denominator to add fractions. This accurately expresses the skill described in this standard without using so much technical jargon.

Remember, "I can" statements break objectives into specific targets for each lesson. They express in student-friendly language the portions of the competencies that students will know or be able to do by the end of the defined period of instruction. So my students would be able to look at these "I can" statements and understand what the expectations are for them by the end of the lesson or group of lessons.

In this tutorial, we examined "I can" statements and discussed how and why to use them in the classroom. We learned how to create "I can" statements from your standards or learning goals, using student-friendly language. And we listed some possible ways that you can share these "I can" statements with your students. Finally, we examined some examples of "I can" statements that are aligned with Common Core standards.

So now it's your turn to stop and reflect. Think about a lesson that you have coming up in the near future. Could you write some "I can" statements to help students pinpoint the skills that you'll be covering in that lesson?

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "I Can Statements"

(00:00 - 00:26) Introduction

(00:27 - 01:02) Overview of "I Can" Statements

(01:03 - 01:25) How and Why to Use "I Can" Statements

(01:26 - 02:25) Create "I Can" Statements

(02:26 - 02:49) Share "I Can" Statements with Students

(02:50 - 05:06) Examples

(05:07 - 05:30) Review

(05:31 - 06:01) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

“I Can” Common Core Standards K – 6

This site has converted the Common Core Standards into I Can Statements that teachers can use in their instruction. The I Can Statements are provided on easy to access handouts for the teachers to use as planning 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.