If you have recently noticed chewed fingernails, teachers rubbing their neck, and the sound of “plop, plop, fizz, fizz . . .”., you know it must standardized test time. These type of tests have both pros and cons. Stress and anxiety are definitely listed in the cons column. Goal setting should be listed in the pro column. This is a skill that I teach, reteach, and enforce all year. Goal setting not only impacts test scores, it is a skill your students will use for the rest of their lives.
When introducing the topic, remind students that they have already heard their parents set goals. Mom and dad call their goals, New Year’s Resolutions. Ask them to think of a short term and long term goal for school and at home. Brainstorm with your class strategies for achieving their goal. Have a weekly goal check-in. Part of goal setting is learning to be reflective. What is working? What isn’t working? What do I need to change? My students’ short term school goals all revolved around raising their grades. For some it was a specific subject, for other students they wanted to make the honor roll. One of the strategies that we incorporated into our schedule was goal check-in. Fifteen minute before we began Friday Fun Day, I gave my students their weekly folders with their graded work. Students looked over their graded work. Any assignment that had a grade that was lower than what they set for their goal was set aside. Next, students put a post-it notes on the assignments in the below-goal stack of work. They looked over their work to see why their grade wasn’t meeting their expectations. Sometimes it was something simple like rushing through work, adding instead of subtracting math problems, or writing was so sloppy I couldn’t read it. Students drew a line across the middle of the post-it note. On the top half they wrote why their assignment didn’t meet the goal. On the bottom half they wrote how they will correct the problem so it won’t happen in future assignment. Some of their solutions were quite creative. There were some great solutions when students weren’t understanding the assignments. Some students gave up recess time to come in for extra help. Others made a goal to use the website IXL for XXX number of minutes a day to help with math facts. I even had a couple of industrious ones meet at the public library after school to help each other. Parents loved how their children were taking ownership of their grades. They weren’t having as many “discussions” about grades as they were before. When students finished their reflection post-its about their graded work, they brought their stack of work to me so we could have a quick conference about it. Students quickly learned fewer assignments to reflect about equals more Friday Fun Day time.
Here is a free goal planning sheet that you can use with your class:
Click HERE to download it or click on the picture.