Begin with the End in Mind

Section 3 of the Coming-of-Age Unit Planning Toolkit

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Purposeful and responsive planning and instruction begin at the outset of the school year when teachers identify goals for their course, as well as the student learning objectives and learning outcomes for each unit. For many educators, federal, state, or departmental standards are the starting point for determining their expectations of what students should know and be able to do as they move through a course.

Defining Key Terms

The following terms are defined in different ways in education literature, schools, and even departments. In this resource, we are defining them as follows: 

  • Learning Objectives: General statements about the larger goals of a Facing History literature unit. They focus on skills and habits of mind that students develop over time when educators plan and teach using our pedagogical approach and resources.
  • Learning Outcomes: Specific measurable statements of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions that students develop over the course of a Facing History literature unit. They are aligned to our learning objectives.
  • Learning Experiences: A flexible collection of Facing History classroom activities, materials, and instructional strategies. They are designed to be incorporated into lesson plans in order to support students’ development of specific Facing History learning outcomes and larger objectives.
 

Facing History Learning Objectives

The learning objectives at the heart of a Facing History unit address the cognitive, emotional, and ethical growth of the whole student. They support ELA educators in centering students’ identities and to integrating reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills development with perspective-taking, ethical reflection, empathy, and agency to nurture students’ capacity for informed and engaged citizenship. 

This Unit Planning Toolkit supports teachers in creating the classroom conditions and learning experiences where students can:

  • Learning Objective 1: Explore the Complexity of Identity
  • Learning Objective 2: Process Texts through a Critical and Ethical Lens
  • Learning Objective 3: Develop a Sense of Civic Agency

Facing History Student Learning Outcomes

The following learning outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions students develop over the course of a Facing History literature unit. These observable and measurable learning outcomes support educators as they design daily lesson plans, select passages for close reading and analysis, and assess their students’ growth. 

When you are ready to start designing your lesson plans and teaching your unit, you can choose two to three Facing History learning outcomes from each learning objective and choose from our learning experiences to develop lesson plans that provide meaningful and relevant opportunities for students to practice and reflect on their progress toward these outcomes.  

Learning Objective 1: Explore the Complexity of Identity

In order to deepen their understanding of the text, themselves, each other, and the world, students will . . .

  • Value the complexity of identity in themselves and others.
  • Examine how their identity is a combination of who they say they are, who others say they are, and who they hope to be in the future.
  • Engage with real and imagined stories that help them understand their own coming-of-age experiences and how others experience the world.
  • Describe the factors that influence their moral development, such as their personal experiences, their interactions with others, and their surroundings, and reflect on how these factors influence their sense of right and wrong.
  • Recognize the power that comes with telling their own story and engaging with the stories of others. 

Learning Objective 2: Process Texts through a Critical and Ethical Lens

In order to deepen their understanding of the text, themselves, each other, and the world, students will . . .

  • Read critically and ethically to understand thematic development, characterization, conflict, and craft in order to make personal and real-world connections between the text and their lives.
  • Practice perspective-taking in order to develop empathy and recognize the limits of any one person’s point of view.
  • Evaluate a text for the ways in which it upholds and/or challenges stereotypes of individuals and groups.
  • Analyze the internal and external conflicts that characters face and the impact these conflicts can have on an individual’s choices and actions, both in the text and in the real world. 
  • Identify examples of injustice and unfairness in the literature they read and in the world today. Examine how an individual’s identity, group membership, and relationship to systems of inequity can impact their sense of who they are and their agency when faced with a moral dilemma or choice.
  • Make real-world connections that explore historical and contemporary contexts in literature.

Learning Objective 3: Develop a Sense of Civic Agency

In order to deepen their understanding of the text, themselves, each other, and the world, students will . . .

  • Analyze the author’s representation of individual and collective agency in the text and compare and contrast it to their own beliefs and experiences in the world. 
  • Compare and contrast the motivations and actions of upstanders, bystanders, and perpetrators in the text and draw connections to the human condition and social issues in the world today. 
  • Recognize that their decisions matter, impact others, and shape their communities and the world. 
  • Develop the tools, efficacy, and voice to envision and enact positive changes in their personal lives, communities, and world. 
  • Demonstrate an increased sense of confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas orally and in writing.

Go to the Educator Workbook

Surface key coming-of-age moments in the text that align with the learning objectives and provide rich opportunities for close reading, whole-class learning experiences, and discussions in Section 3: Begin with the End in Mind.

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