Monday, July 18, 2011

Setting Goals

1.  Where are you?

2.  Where do you want to be?

3.  How will you get there?

These are the questions I want students to think about.  I start out by asking them these questions with reading. Using the Fountas and Pinnell test, each student knows their reading level.  From that data, they think through each of the above questions.  We revisit their goals often.  In math we discuss their strengths and weaknesses and then the students write out their answers to the questions.

This year I will have students set goals for their behavior.  These goals will come after we have developed the classroom expectations and discussed ways to make our room the best room in which ALL can learn.  I want each student to understand their responsibility to the class.

After a week into the school year, every student will have these three goals in place and documented.  Setting the goals is not enough, students need to understand why we are setting goals and understand what their next steps should be to reach the objective.

Here are the two visuals I provide for students to help them understand setting goals.

1.  We go outside to play soccer.  I divide them to teams and give them a ball and tell them to play.  When the students - automatically - set up the two goals, I stop them.  I make them play without goals.  They have fun for a while, but soon they become bored.  Especially my more competitive students.  This is a great teachable moment to talk about setting goals, identifying what is in the way of reaching your goals, and why knowing where/what the goal is is so important.

Of course school can be boring if there are no goals set.  I guarantee that my students will have a subpar teacher at some point during their educational career.  If they have a goal set, the boredom of the classroom can be viewed as an opponent to be overcome.  Whereas if they have no goals set - imagine how bad that class will be!  They are just running around, kicking a ball back and forth and they don't even like the people on the field with them.

2.  I bring in a weightlifting bar with 250 lbs on it.  I have a student try to lift it.  They can't.  I ask them to imagine that I ask them to come in every morning until the last day of the year and try to lift it.

 Then I ask, "on the last day of school, will you be able to lift it?".

"What if you come in every day and sit in that chair and stare at me every day, will you be able to lift it on the last day of school?"

"What if you come in every day and lift this 1 lb weight, will that help?"

I turn to the class, "how do you get stronger?".  We talk about the questions above.  How does that apply to weightlifting?

This analogy is great for reading, for setting realistic goals, and for developing real steps to reach them.  Choosing good fit books - not too easy or too hard - is important to help you grow as a reader.  Reading every day is extremely important.

After these two lessons, we are ready to revisit our goals.  Do you need to rewrite your goal?  What steps do you plan to take to reach your goal?

By the way.  Just three days ago I committed to a challenge to try something new for 30 days.  I decided to blog for 30 days straight.  It is 11:35 PM on day 3.

Whew!  Barely kept this goal alive.  Goals are hard to keep, but worth it.

Enjoy learning today.

1 comment:

  1. Good ideas! It's great to use visuals to communicate goal setting.