Last week marked the end of one grading period and the beginning of another. It was a perfect time for my students to reflect on the goals they had set for the first nine weeks and to set goals for the new grading period. As they reviewed their grades and quarterly test results, they identified which goals they had met and placed a sticker on those goal statements. Next, they wrote goals and action plans for the upcoming grading period.
Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as simple as it sounds! The process may seem easy, but it's a concept that takes time to develop. Classroom Goal Setting explains the process in great detail, but I've learned a few tips and tricks to help make things even easier.
Goal Setting Tips
- Record-keeping - I just created a new super-easy goal setting form to help students through the process. You can download and print this form for free by visiting the Odds N Ends page on Teaching Resources.
- School vs. Personal Goals - Along with goals for grades and attendance, students can set goals for things they want to achieve or accomplish at home. Allow students to set at least one personal goal for themselves in addition to their three academic goals.
- Brainstorming - Conduct class brainstorming sessions to help students think of appropriate goals and action plans.
- Baby Steps - Don't expect students to complete the entire form at one time. The form has a place for 4 goals, so break the lesson up into 4 small chunks. Have them write one goal and a set of action plans each day. Or write all 4 goals one day and all 4 action plans the next.
- Frequent Checks - After students write up one goal and action plan, collect their papers to review. Many students will need additional guidance and it's best to identify those students early in the process.
- Conferencing - Allow time for individual conferencing with students who are struggling to write goals and action plans.
- Grading - It's not necessary to grade this activity, but there's nothing wrong with considering this to be a writing lesson and grading their work accordingly. I don't grade what they choose as goals, but I do grade them on how well they followed directions and the amount of detail in their action plans. They seem to put more thought and effort into the activity if I make my expectations clear and if I treat this as a regular assignment.
To learn more about how to teach students to set goals and create action plans, download Classroom Goal Setting and read the articles at Education World. If you have any additional resources to share, feel free to add a comment to this blog post.