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Many teachers, schools and districts are buzzing about I CAN statements. What is all the hype and are they really worth integrating into your classroom? The decision is ultimately yours, but here is a little look into my experience with I CAN statements and how I used them to enhance my curriculum and my teaching.
What is an I CAN Statement?
In a nutshell, I CAN statements are simple sentences designed by the
teacher or the department. (Secondary folks often choose something a little diffferent, such as “As an artist, I will…) Either way, these statements are based off the power standards or learning objectives from the curriculum, but they are written in student-friendly language. I CAN statements break down lofty objectives into learning targets students can read and understand. They cover specific learning for each lesson, and there can be more than one I CAN statement for each Power Standard.
The neat thing about I CAN statements is that if they are used consistently and accurately, they can help students become more responsible for their learning and more reflective of their own work. I CAN statements also easily transition into assessments and allow for students and teachers to have a better discussion of their work.
How did I set this up?
I began with a list of I CAN statements designed to match my curriculum for each grade level. (Feel free to download a sample of my list below)
I printed out a copy to keep handy while I was lesson planning. I also had all my I CAN statements printed and laminated in large, color coded strips. It is a lot of printing indeed, but laminating makes sure I will have them to use for years to come.
Some teachers prefer to write I CAN statements on the board, possibly under a catchy sign like this one.
My whiteboard space was a hot commodity, so I came up with an ulterior method. I had two large, metal doors in my classroom, so I made a space for each grade level and posted new I CAN statements each week using magnets. I kept the grade level space constant throughout the year and referred to them often throughout each lesson.
As I designed my digital lesson plans, I included I CAN Statements at the bottom and ticked them off my printed list. This way I knew what statements to pull for the following week and I was able to keep a running record of the I CAN statements that I had used, as well as those I still needed to use.
For all grades K-5, I referred to the I CAN statements as I walked around the room during work time. Including these statements in discussions of their work helped students focus on the goal and the “why” behind each lesson. The I CAN learning targets were also included in a short printed summary that students in k-2 glued to the back of each work. This is similar to Jessica’s Itty Bitty Message.
Students in grades 3-5 completed a self-reflection at the end of each lesson that included the I CAN statements. Feel free to download a sample self-reflection form like the one below. Students simply glued this reflection to the back of their project before turning it in.
In my experience, I CAN statements were a nice fit. They are clear simple statements that bridge the gap between curriculum planning and the daily art room experience. As a bonus, they can also be used to enhance communication with students and parents. The learning is right there, broken down and easy to follow and understand.
How do you use I CAN statements?
What are some ways you are making the learning targets clear to your students?