RPM Objectives, Or How to Avoid Kidnapping Your Students

The Literacy Cookbook COVERIf you walked into your classroom and told all of your students to stand up, follow you, and get on a bus without telling them where you were going or how long it would take to arrive, they might look at you a little funny.  Because that’s called KIDNAPPING.

But the truth is that many teachers do this every day: they walk in and tell students to do things without explaining what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

Then they wonder why students are resistant.

If a student asks you, “Why are we doing this?” you shouldn’t take it as a sign of impudence.  It’s a legitimate question.  And you need to know the answer.  Actually, you need to answer that question even before it gets asked.

One way to avoid kidnapping your students is to establish, post, and explain your objectives for the class.  These objectives should be what I call “RPM”: Rigorous, Purposeful, and Measurable.  Think of it this way: RPM objectives can help you accelerate student learning.

Following is a little cheat sheet:

Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to push for higher levels of rigor.  Check out this Website on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
PURPOSEFUL:Use the key phrase “in order to.”  Students need to know WHY they’re doing this work.  And so do you.
MEASURABLE:Your objectives should imply the use of assessment.  For example, “Students will draw inferences from chapter 6 of The Kite Runner in order to determine key traits of the main characters” implies that students will be recording those character traits in some fashion—possibly on a graphic organizer.  Or perhaps they will write paragraphs or essays analyzing the main characters.  In any case, you can explain to students WHY they are going to draw these inferences so that they will do so with a greater sense of purpose.

For more examples of RPM objectives, go to the TLC “RPM Objectives” page.


About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website (www.literacycookbook.com) and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (http://onlygoodbooks.wordpress.com/), and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
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One Response to RPM Objectives, Or How to Avoid Kidnapping Your Students

  1. Pingback: RPM Objectives: A Few Hints about Rigor | The Literacy Cookbook blog

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