>Setting Goals With Children / With My Students

>Setting Goals with Children / Students

We all know that it is important to support our students; to build on strengths and address needs. It’s a given.

We believe in our children and in all that they can accomplish.

We work with them, support them, listen to them and guide them. We teach, we learn, we share, we grow. We want them to feel and be successful. We ask questions, we make plans, we learn from one another.

We know that it is important for students to exhibit a certain amount of self-awareness. We want them to know who they are: where they come from, where they are in the moment and where they are going.

It seems only reasonable then that after getting to know our students, we encourage them to reflect and set goals.
… & certainly, the beginning of any school year seems as good a time as any to do just that.

Setting Goals: My/One Teacher’s Approach:

At the beginning of the school year I inform my students that we are going to learn about and engage in goal setting (in a very formal way). I read inspirational stories (both fiction and nonfiction), pictures books, newspaper and magazine articles, etc. really anything that I can get my hands on that supports this/our theme.
We talk about goal setting but we do not share our goals. I want to ensure that they have enough time to really think about what it is that they would like to accomplish: adequate processing time is so very important.

We also come together to complete a KWHL chart about goal setting.
That is: What do we know about goals? What do we want to know about setting goals? How are we going to make this happen? (& finally … in the end: What did we learn?)

It’s an animated, authentic and exciting exercise … it encourages mindfulness, self-reflection, honesty and action.

P.S. I engage in the exercise as well. I set, develop, share and activate a personal goal. I share my strategies, successes and any bumps along the way. Together we engage in this authentic learning experience.

& Now: If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see the following “Goal Setting: How To List” posted in a highly visible area. We create this list once we have chosen our goals and before we activate them. We work on it for about one week (and add to it whenever the fancy strikes us!)

“Goal Setting How To List”
(by Grade 5)
*Choose and state the goal
*The goal must be it must be realistic, specific, simple & significant
*Do some research
*Reevaluate the goal.
*Be positive
*Be Precise
*Set Priorities
*Be strategic
*Research, read and listen
*Record goals / revisit them
*Post goals in a highly visible place
*See the goal/Visualize the goal often; What does it look like?
*Find a mentor (a parent, a teacher, an uncle, an aunt, a coach, a friend …. the possibilities are endless)
*Learn from mistakes – there will always be bumps along the way
*Enjoy the ride: Listen to your inner voice / enjoy the process !
*Be flexible / review your end goal and progress regularly
*Start today!

Some suggested times to introduce goal setting in the classroom (in no particular order):
The beginning of the school year
The beginning of any term
New Year’s Eve; The beginning of the calendar year
Rosh Hashanah
Seollal, the traditional Korean New Year
Losar, the Tibetan New Year
Samhain,  the Celtic New Year
Hindu New Year is Vikram Samvat
Baisakhi Festival, also called Vaisakhi
Jamshedi Navroz, the Parsi New Year
Samhain,  the Celtic New Year
Naw Ruz, the Bahai New Year
Songkran, the name of the New Year in Thailand
Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year
Noruz or Now-Ruz, the Persian New Year   
Maal Hijra or Islamic New Year
Terry Fox Day
Martin Luther King Day
Remembrance Day
*Any day is a good day really!!!!!!


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