SWBAT stands for “Students Will Be Able To…” and it should begin all of the lesson objectives that you write as a teacher. Using SWBAT properly places the focus of a lesson plan on what the students learn and do rather that what the teacher teaches and does. As I have previously written, too many teachers make the lesson planning mistake of listing activities without purpose and focus on teaching rather than learning.
When I first started teaching, I wasted a lot of unnecessary time on lesson planning. A part of that time would be spent trying to craft or decide on the best lesson objectives for my students. Unfortunately, I would often go with the default “SWBAT explain…”, which lacks clarity and can get to repetitive.
In The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning I developed a list of categorized SWBAT verb lesson objective examples to help teachers and catechists use as a cheat sheet for creating lesson objectives. You can find that list below.
I based these verbs off of two great taxonomies of learning objectives: Bloom’s Taxonomy and Marzano’s New Taxonomy. The three categories are meant to show an increasing level of thinking from memorization and repetition to creating new ideas based on what is known. I broke them down into three categories, because I always struggled to organize the various verbs in my head.
Retrieval objective verbs challenge students to memorize and repeat definitions and lists, describe main ideas, or recognize concepts from a list.
Comprehension objectives measure understanding of concepts.
Critical Thinking objectives ask students to take what they have learned and think about new concepts for themselves.
Examples of SWBAT Verbs
- Recognize/Identify from a list…
- State/Recall the definition of…/Define…
- Name/List the three…of…
- Describe who, what, where, when…
- Describe the key parts of…
- Describe the ways in which…
- Explain why/the meaning of…
- Explain how…
- Compare and contrast…
- Make connections between…
- Create an analogy/metaphor for…
- Create a generalization…
- Make a prediction
- Create a rule/principle/criteria for…
- Defend/Develop/provide evidence for/support an argument for…
- Form a conclusion…
- Select the best way to…
- Rate the…according to a criteria…
- Develop a strategy to…
- Test the idea that…
If you would like actual examples of full lesson objectives or information about why I divided the verbs in the way I did, sign-up to receive your free copy of The Religion Teacher’s Guide to Lesson Planning. It includes this resource and many others to help teachers create better lesson plans.
Filed Under: Teaching StrategiesTagged With: lesson objectives
Do you ever wonder why a grammatically correct sentence you’ve written just lies there like a dead fish?
I sure have.
Your sentence might even be full of those adjectives and adverbs your teachers and loved ones so admired in your writing when you were a kid.
But still the sentence doesn’t work.
Something simple I learned from The Elements of Styleyears ago changed the way I write and added verve to my prose. The authors of that little bible of style said: “Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.”
Even Mark Twain was quoted, regarding adjectives: “When in doubt, strike it out.”
That’s not to say there’s no place for adjectives. I used three in the title and first paragraph of this post alone.
The point is that good writing is more about well-chosen nouns and strong verbs than it is about adjectives and adverbs, regardless what you were told as a kid.
There’s no quicker win for you and your manuscript than ferreting out and eliminating flabby verbs and replacing them with vibrant ones.
How To Know Which Verbs Need Replacing
Your first hint is your own discomfort with a sentence. Odds are it features a snooze-inducing verb.
As you hone your ferocious self-editing skills, train yourself to exploit opportunities to replace a weak verb for a strong one.
At the end of this post I suggest a list of 249 powerful verbs you can experiment with to replace tired ones.
Want a copy of the 249-verb list to read, save, or print whenever you wish? Click here.
What constitutes a tired verb? Here’s what to look for:
3 Types of Verbs to Beware of in Your Prose
1. State-of-being verbs
These are passive as opposed to powerful:
Am I saying these should never appear in your writing? Of course not. You’ll find them in this piece. But when a sentence lies limp, you can bet it contains at least one of these. Determining when a state-of-being verb is the culprit creates a problem—and finding a better, more powerful verb to replace it—is what makes us writers. [Note how I replaced the state-of-being verbs in this paragraph.]
Resist the urge to consult a thesaurus for the most exotic verb you can find. I consult such references only for the normal word that carries power but refuses to come to mind.
I would suggest even that you consult my list of powerful verbs only after you have exhausted all efforts to come up with one on your own. You want Make your prose to be your own creation, not yours plus Roget or Webster or Jenkins. [See how easy they are to spot and fix?]
Impotent: The man was walking on the platform.
Powerful: The man strode along the platform.
Impotent: Jim is a lover of country living.
Powerful: Jim treasures country living.
Impotent: There are three things that make me feel the way I do…
Powerful: Three things convince me…
2. Verbs that rely on adverbs
Powerful verbs are strong enough to stand alone.
The fox ran quickly dashed through the forest.
She menacingly looked glared at her rival.
He secretly listened eavesdropped while they discussed their plans.
3. Verbs with -ing suffixes
Before: He was walking…
After: He walked…
Before: She was loving the idea of…
After: She loved the idea of…
Before: The family was starting to gather…
After: The family started to gather…
The Powerful Verbs List