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Using "I can" statements
Dec 16, 2008
Big Ideas Home
Students like to know how successful they are in their progress toward achieving the standard. One easy way to help students see their success is through "I can" statements.  These statements are clear statements  that identify each goal that is necessary in order to be successful. They are usually ordered from the beginning simple goal or skill to the ending complex goal or skill. Sometimes they are a listing of all the goals that the students need but they are not necessarily in an increasing level of difficulty. The heading of "I Can" is followed by specific action verbs. For example, an Science teacher may have these "I can" statements for science experiments (a partial listing):

__Think of a question I want to answer
__Think of how to answer my question
__Create a hypothesis
__Find information about the question

Since these statements are in students' talk and not in the standard's educational jargon, students can easily tell where they are in their educational journey.  The "I can" statements are brief and only contain the goals for one standard or just the components for one single goal. Students can check off each goal as they achieve it so that they can see what they have successful in and what they still have to achieve. They can share these statements with their teachers and parents.

Teachers can find some examples of "I can" statements on the web or they can write their own. The educators can search for "I can statements" + general subject area such as "I can statements" +"Language Arts" or even more specifically "I can statements" +"Civil War".  The Project based learning website has "I can" statements for science, oral presentation, writing, and multimedia for various grade levels. One teacher creates her own statements as her students go step by step through the goals in the learning process. Another teacher has the class record these "I can" individual steps on the board as they do each. Then the teachers have “I can” for the next class.

"I can" statements can be used from primary level through college. Also, since these statements precisely show all the steps in the learning process, some teachers use these as "I will" statements which they give before the unit starts. As students read these "I will" statements, they are aware of what they will have to do to be successful. These statements serve as an organizer for their future learning.

Start using "I can" statements so that your students can know what they have to do to be successfully and to record their successes.
About Harry Grover Tuttle
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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 found comments.
Posted by: Judi Van Erden
Mar 06, 2019
 
I find "I can" statements abhorrent, because they are disrespectful. What happens when a student cannot? But what really bothers me--especially when I read that they can be used effectively from grade school through college, is that there is no evidence that they do work other than teachers "feeling" like they do; or, worse yet, allowing teachers to feel as though they've imparted agency on the student by virtue of using "I can" statements.
Posted by: Judi Van Erden
Mar 06, 2019
 
I find "I can" statements abhorrent, because they are disrespectful. What happens when a student cannot? But what really bothers me--especially when I read that they can be used effectively from grade school through college, is that there is no evidence that they do work other than teachers "feeling" like they do; or, worse yet, allowing teachers to feel as though they've imparted agency on the student by virtue of using "I can" statements.
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