As we enter a New Year, traditionally many people begin setting New Year’s Resolutions. These resolutions have helped many to achieve their goals. As you return to school this week, try implementing goal setting into your classroom. Students are nearly half-ways through a school year. What a great way to motivate your students to achieve individual learning goals.
The key is to write the goals down.This is the main difference between a wish and a goal.You may decide to have students come up with their own learning goals or you could hold individual conferences. Before you get that pen and paper ready, follow these steps when setting either personal or classroom goals. Consider the acronym of SMARTER, to guide you in writing student or classroom learning goals.
S-Specific. Make sure the goal is specific enough for your students to attain. Daily goals work better than quarterly goals. For example, if you were using a reading program and you required each student to read a set number of points per quarter, why not make it easier by breaking it down to daily or weekly goals? Holding students accountable to that weekly goal will help you track their weekly progress toward a bigger monthly or quarterly goal.
Other Possible Specific Reading Ideas:
Read a book recommended by a friend.
- Read a genre you have never read before.
- Read a book you started but haven’t finished.
- Read to your dog.
- Read 20 minutes a night.
M-Measureable. This goes along with the idea of “specific.” By simply adding a date when you hope to meet the objective, you have made the goal more specific. Teachers can quickly see if your students are on target toward making their goal by adding a measurement.The goal of reading 20 minutes a night is measurable and specific. Achieving at least 80% comprehension on weekly test is also measurable.
A-Attitude. Remember to be POSITIVE! Remind your students that not all people learn at the same rate. Help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses. This will help learners as you set individualized goals. Remain positive even if they didn’t entirely reach their goal. Tell them what they did well. Students can also evaluate their progress and revise their goal with approval.
R-Rewards. There is a lot of research about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. Some learners may need more extrinsic motivation until they are intrinsically motivated. Classroom goals are a great way to motivate all learners.
T-Tools. Big Universe has built in tools that allow teachers to monitor student progress and assign reading material to their students. If you are a Big Universe user and are not familiar with them, utilize the professional development portal to brush up on these features. If you would like more information on these tools, don’t hesitate to contact the Big Universe team!
E-Everyone. Have your classroom work as a team.This makes students dependent on each other. For example, set a goal as a class to read x number of minutes per week. Report classroom progress on a thermometer or other visual for a quick classroom feedback.
R-Report. Have your students check in with you to see how they are doing. Student conferencing is a great way to monitor their understanding.
Sample questions for Individual student reading conferences (Avoid yes and no questions)
- Who are the main characters in your book?
- What is the setting?
- What is your favorite part of the book?
By using our SMARTER suggestions, your students will be held accountable in a positive learning environment. We would love to hear how our suggestions have helped you in your classroom and if you have some additional ideas, please feel free to share!