Year after year I have refined my approach to goal setting with my students, but there are three principles that have remained the same.
1. Student Driven
Students are responsible for setting and reflecting goals at the beginning of each quarter. This is something that requires teacher assistance and guidance. Depending on the goal that is being set, teachers will need various types of information. For example, current levels of student performance (state assessment, pretest data, reading inventory), behavior information (approximate number of detentions, days on lower level of behavior chart, ect.) and common areas that students will are likely to select to improve in. The latter is not a requirement, but helpful in thinking through how to be specific and assist students with breaking down the goal into measurable chunks. I start by modeling how to do a self reflection and evaluation. My goal here is to make my thinking palpable for students and to walk them through the honest process of self-analysis. Two key ideas: 1) We are ALL working on SOMETHING 2) THIS IS PERSONAL
Students need to know what steps they can take to improve. Since the goals are driven by students, I like to share examples of how to craft goals based on their self identified area of development. It might also be helpful have to goal bank that aligns with the key areas from the goal setting sheet.
3. Include Benchmarks and Celebration
Students need to know what success looks like! I tend to let students articulate that in way that makes sense to them and guide them in thinking through the actions. However, I lead the celebration of my students. Ironically, my students are naturally REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard on themselves. Meaning, they struggle with the process and have FITS when they make mistakes. They sometimes takes the all or nothing approach, therefore, I prioritize taking time to celebrate progress. #thejourney
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