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Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation


Clarity Through Learning Targets

Learning becomes

 more impactful whe

n students know what to expect from lessons. A concise and effective method for introducing lessons is through t

he use of learning targets.

1. Specific Short-Term Goals

Learning targets, often known as “I

can” statements, communicate specific, short-term goals. These goals can

be achieved swiftly, within days or hours, aiding students in understanding the purpose of the lesson.

2. Integration with Lesson Content

Watch the video above to learn about tying the lesson to prior knowledge and pushing it into future knowledge.

At the lesson’s outset, the teacher displays the learning target prominently for students to see. A brief discussion follows, connecting the target with students’ existing knowledge. Throughout the lesson, referencing the learning target helps students stay focused on the lesson’s purpose.


Strategic Preview with Advance Organizers

Another effective method is the use of advance organizers, which provide a structured preview of the main points of a lesson or series of lessons.

1. Framework for Content

In various formats such as diagrams, lists, charts, or texts, advance organizers offer a brief lesson-before-the-lesson, creating a framework for the upcoming content.

KWL CHART - Comprehension Strategies for middle school students


2. Three-Fold Framework Setup

Advance organizers serve a three-fold purpose:

    • Connecting new ideas or skills to students’ existing knowledge.
    • Briefly explaining new concepts or skills.
    • Identifying key connections between new ideas and skills.

3. Importance for Complex Concepts

The importance of an advance organizer amplifies with the complexity and unfamiliarity of new ideas. It proves crucial for student learning, aiding in understanding, remembering, and applying ideas and skills within the lesson.

4. Tailoring to Students’ Needs

The importance of advance organizers varies based on students’ experience and existing knowledge. Students with less familiarity require advance organizers even more to prevent the lesson from seeming difficult and confusing. The prior connection helps them feel safe in the lesson. 

5. Diverse Forms of Advance Organizers

Advance organizers can take various forms, including graphic organizers that cater to students with visual and spatial talents. 


Paraprofessionals play a crucial role in finding or creating a variety of advance organizers, addressing the diverse needs of students in the classroom.


Illustration: What an Advance Organizer Presents

instruction unit4 overview

Module: Helping with Instruction

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