RPM Objectives: Why “In Order To”?

The Literacy Cookbook COVERWhile working on RPM objectives the other day, a teacher asked me if it was OK to use “by” instead of “in order to” to convey the purpose.

Here is what I told her: The word “by” answers the question “How?”—not the question “Why?”

It’s OK to include “by” if you want to provide more specificity about HOW you will teach an objective, as in: “SWBAT paraphrase an article from the NY Times by employing the ‘bubble-wrap-and-underline’ strategy.…”  In fact, some districts require teachers to specify what strategy students will use in order to meet an objective, so using “by” can help them do that.

BUT “by” does not answer the question “Why?” so it does not address the purpose of the objective.  Therefore you must use “in order to” if you want to convey the purpose.  BOTTOM LINE: To write RPM objectives, you must use “in order to.”  You can also include “by.”  But “by” alone is not sufficient.

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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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