One thing I have found is that students work so much harder when they have created their own goal. They put forth even more effort when they are involved in the progress monitoring. And, boy, do they celebrate their success harder when they reach a goal they set for themselves. Feeling that success makes them crave more!
Before setting a goal, I have my students think about their strengths and weaknesses. It is an important life-long skill for a person to be self-aware and learning that skill as a young student gives your students a lot of time to practice that skill before they become adults.
Setting a Goal
The first few times you set goals with your class, your students might need help coming up with an attainable and measurable goal. If your student is currently reading 32 words per minute, a goal of reading 80 words per minute at the end of the marking period would not be an attainable goal no matter how hard the student works.
Part of setting a goal is coming up with a plan to help reach that goal. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about strategies your students can use to get them to where they want to be.
What are some measurable goals students can set for themselves?
* Completing homework every night.
* Getting a certain score on a spelling test.
* Reading a certain number of words per minute.
* Scoring a certain time on a timed math test.
* Returning library books on time each week.
* Earning a certain behavior reward each day.
Monitoring progress can be a really fun learning experience for your students! Pick a day during the week and set aside some time to help your students track their goal. In a quick, 5-minute conference you can talk about their progress along with what is helping and not helping them reach their goal.
Once you have modeled this behavior a few times, you may be able to let your students track their progress independently. This depends on their maturity and ability to be honest with themselves.
At the end of the time period, it is important to celebrate success! Each child that reached their goal should be rewarded in some way. I have done something as simple as allowing those that met their goals a chance to eat lunch in the classroom on a Friday. It doesn't have to be big. It doesn't have to be a tangible object. Most importantly, it doesn't have to cost you any money!
Hanging up certificates on a success board is a perfect way to celebrate success. It might be a great idea to send a copy of the certificate home so your students can celebrate with their families as well.
Do you already have your students set and track their own goals? I would love to hear about it!
If you want to try this out and need a resource to get you started, I have a Student Led Goals pack in my store with everything you need. If you want to take it a step further, I also have an All-In-One Kit for Student Led Parent Conferences.
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the increased effort once your students are involved with setting their own goals.
See you again soon!