My husband and I spent our recent 5th Anniversary in Sedona, AZ. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been in the U.S., and the place he proposed to me. We wanted to enjoy the hiking, rock climbing, creek swimming, and our favorite winery, Oak Creek. We especially enjoyed a few days with only adults allowed!

Cathedral Rock, Sedona AZ

Cathedral Rock, Sedona AZ  Photo taken from

Our main hiking target was Cathedral Rock. We had hiked up this structure the first summer I came to Arizona with Joseph. The same week I decided to leave Michigan and move here. We made it to the top in 90-some degrees. It took about a half an hour and a lot of bottled water! When we got to the top we noticed that people had carved their names and images into one face between the center spires. We had to leave our mark too. We were really motivated to get to the top again and see if it was still there after 7 years!

When you start the trail you can’t see the whole rock ahead of you. The slope of the land and twisting of the path just gives you hints of what’s coming. Every 5 minutes or so I found myself looking back to see where I’d been, and then looking forward to see where I was going next. I started thinking, this is a good analogy for using Marzano Scales in the classroom! In life, when we have a big goal to tackle, we would be totally defeated if we only saw the big picture, and not the path.

It’s the next step, the one we can SEE that gets us saying “Okay, I can get there.”

People climbing a mountain Looking back down the trail

When we look back and see how far we’ve come along the trail, we feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. We SEE what we have already accomplished!

For too long the standards have been presented as these huge and sometimes vague (for students and sometimes teachers!) point far off in the distance with no particular relevance to us personally at this moment. Kids have no orientation to find themselves within the content. How defeated does a student feel when they sit through a presentation, or receive a new assignment and they have no idea where to start, or how to connect the info to something they already know? Ever have a student completely fail a test? What do you say to them…umm… You have a lot of work to do if you want to do better in this class. They have no idea where to start because they don’t know how far off they are, or what they would need to master to get a little closer. Sometimes neither do you!

Scales make the entire path VISIBLE! They provide a quick outline of getting from point 0 to point 4. I loved using them in my class because I felt confident that I knew what they needed to master next. Every small sequential step was already laid out for me and differentiating assignments for that one student did not seem so overwhelming.

Here’s a few examples of what I mean by “Marzano Scales.” The onset of iObservations hand other forms of teacher evaluations have got floods of teacher scanning the internet for cute posters. What Marzano describes as “Tracking Learning Goals with Scales, ” the research that brought so much attention to the use of scales, is something much more specific.

5OA1 CC Math

Percentile Gains Chart - Marzano & Haystead (2009)6EE1 Res 300

You can find these Posters for Grades 3-8 HERE. Try them in your room for FREE!

K- Coming Soon!

Just for fun…here’s my husband and I between the spires of Cathedral Rock in 2008. 🙂

Get your students motivated to reach any goal with learning goals and scales





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