Last year at this time, I introduced my class to goal setting. Although this is often done in September, I feel it is more effective in January when students have had the opportunity to received feedback in all subject areas. During our Writing Workshop, we discussed and wrote goals that were particular to student success at school. Many of the goals were vague or too broad, so we used the SMART goal process (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). This framework really helped students create better goals that suited their individual needs. Once the goals were created, students wrote them on foam discs and we hung them around the classroom to refer to and measure against.
This January, I plan to do the same goal setting work with my 6/7 class. I have found an article on edutopia that articulates the process effectively:
It shows how students are more engaged with their learning and goals when they know what they have to do and in what timeframe to achieve them. The article also provides information on goal setting for character traits, using peer review.
In The Heart and Art of Teaching and Learning, an activity is provided to align students goals, strengths, and beliefs as they relate to their life in school. The activity is suggested as a first day of school activity, but it would also work well in January, when students are comfortable to share more in their established classroom community. You can find this activity on page 36.
Goal setting is a task that correlates with the idea of growth mindset. Students should be encouraged to set goals for themselves at any time in the year. By helping them create goals that are attainable, you will also help them feel success.