Goal setting is very important for student success and has been a part of my classroom culture for years. During the first week of school, we have a class discussion about goals. We discuss the difference between long- and short-term goals. I also teach students how to set goals that are realistic. Finally, I explain the importance of having a plan to reach a goal. Students have a data notebook for recording their progress in a variety of areas including Math Masters, AR, and reading level. I encourage students to look at their current level, decide where they want to be, and how they will get there.
This year, teachers at our school read the book Closing the Attitude Gap by Baruti K. Kafele. Kafele says:
Unwritten goals are essentially dreams that can be easily forgotten. Goals must be made concrete by writing them down.
As part of the focus on goal setting in my classroom, my students traced their hand and wrote down a goal they have. I put the goals on the bulletin board in the hallway so we can all look at the goals and hold each other accountable. For this first task, students could write any goal: academic or personal, long-term or short-term. My students shared a variety of goals from reading 40 books to striking out 100 players in baseball to graduating from college. My hope is that by writing these goals and making them concrete my students will be more likely to make a plan to reach their goals.
A poster hanging above my desk summarizes this perfectly:
Your teacher’s goal is simple: to help you reach yours.
We had a great first week of school! We started talking about goal setting (long-term and short-term) and students wrote one goal on a cutout of their hands. This is out in the hallway on our bulletin board to remind students to “reach” for their goals. Soon we will begin writing our data and goals in our data notebooks. This will help students to be responsible for their own learning. Watch for more information about each of the pages in the notebook.
For more information about what we will be learning this month and for important dates this month, be sure to read the 3rd grade August newsletter.