February 01, Categories: Hopes and Dreams On a winter afternoon, a group of third graders has settled down for a class discussion.
By Genia Connell Grades 1—2, 3—5, 6—8 I love the start of a new calendar year nearly as much as I love the start of the new school year each fall. After returning from holiday break, I normally set aside some time for my students to write goals or new year resolutions for themselves.
Based on years of doing this same sort of activity during the first week of the new year or the semester, my takeaway has been that setting specific and attainable goals with third graders is a daunting task.
Even with explicit directions and extensive modeling, many of my students still wrote vague and generic goals like I want to get better at math, or I want to learn more about science.
To help my students make their goals more meaningful, I decided to take a page out of our staff goal writing handbook and have my students write their very own SMART goals.
This week, I'm happy to share with you how My goals as a student students got started writing their new year's resolutions this week. Getting Specific Next we used the interactive whiteboard to sort goals that would be considered specific or not specific using the vortex-maker found on the SMART Exchange.
This was a great game to play as many students were still having trouble distinguishing between specific and not specific. For our next step, we brainstormed a list of goals on chart paper that were specific. As we did so, we discussed if each goal met the other parameters of a SMART goal, such as being attainable or relevant to their needs.
As students came up with ideas, the list grew to include both academic and personal goals. I differentiated between these two types by using different colored markers. A few students jokingly mentioned that we should make a "not specific" chart as well after several students volunteered goals that weren't very specific.
Our Vague Chart was born as an example of a goal that didn't have enough meat to it. The kids had as much fun helping me list vague goals as they did specific ones! Writing Our Goals Using the graphic organizer below made goal setting much easier for my students.
Although we talked about how each student's goals were personal and private, my boys and girls readily discussed goals with their classmates while they worked and even helped each other fine-tune their action plans. Click on the image above to download and print.
After students created a plan, they used it to make a more succinct goal sheet that we can display in the room as a reminder of what we are all working toward. Students used the bottom of the sheet to write a second, personal goal.
They seemed to enjoy doing their best to write specific goals and action plans to go along with them. Second of all, I also must admit that there were still a few third graders who, after much modeling and planning, still weren't quite developmentally ready to delve this deeply into a goal.
Regardless, the students still all came away with two things they wanted to work on and we displayed all the goals with pride.
Finally, I believe one of the best parts of being a teacher is when you are able to ignite a spark in a student or help them discover a new passion.
I'm constantly telling my students to reach for the stars, do more than you think you can and the sky's the limit. That side of me disliked telling my students they should pick a goal that is realistic and within reach. While SMART goals are a wonderful platform to dive off of for something a student wants to accomplish in the short term, I always stress that these are only one type of goal.
The biggest and most worthy goals in life may not always seem realistic or attainable. I'd like to believe the world's greatest inventors, scientists, and explorers were seldom hindered by staying within the realistic box. So while I enjoyed teaching my students how to write a viable, short-term goal, I always hope the goals they hold for their lives go beyond the stretches of their 8-year-old imaginations.
How do you help your students set goals in the classroom?
I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!What do you do in your first lesson with a class, or with an individual tutoring student to make the rest of the semester easy on yourself? Set goals, of course!
I’ve been in love with my goal-setting process since I started it almost ten years ago, and wow does it ever work!So, I thought I’d share it with you in this post, and get your students goal-setting ready, too. With all that is being written now about "mindset," it is an excellent idea to begin school by having our students set positive goals.
More and more K schools are introducing concepts like SMART goals as a way of gradually building students' capacity to tackle the increasing challenges they are facing.
- My Personal Goals as a Student An obvious goal as a working adult returning to school is, of course, to earn a degree. My overall goal is no different than any other student, however, I also have several personal goals I hope to achieve while attending the University. To help my students make their goals more meaningful, I decided to take a page out of our staff goal writing handbook and have my students write their very own SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that often stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Track your progress over time, and make your goal attainable within a set time period.
Don't set yourself up for disappointment.
Marginal improvement can make a difference, so achieving short-term goals that result in small increments of accomplishment matter. Join a club, join student government, write for the student paper, volunteer, do research, join a sports team, get a job.
Take advantage of all the free events that occur on your campus, from concerts to movie screenings to glow-in-the-dark 5Ks.