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adapted from Rachel Stepp

Okay, so this post may not be as exciting as the World Cup, but they do have something in common: in both, goals are a very good thing!

By now, your crew is settled back into the routine of school after the holidays, but this doesn’t mean life has to be ho-hum. To keep students motivated for the remainder of the year, give them a little ownership over their learning. One of the best ways to do this? Setting goals.

A Goal-Setting Lesson Plan

  1. Talk about different types of goals, such as short term and long term, personal goals and academic goals. Ask: Why would we want to set goals? Discuss the importance of visualizing growth and success. You have to conceive it before you can achieve it!
  2. As a class, come up with several categories for goals that the students would like to set. Write the categories on the board or chart paper as you brainstorm. Some ideas: Academic, Family, Friends, Future, Sports/Hobbies/Talents, or Projects.
  3. Then, once you’ve selected three to five categories as a class, have students brainstorm one or two specific goals for themselves for each category. Discuss and model how to create specific, attainable goals that are within their control (i.e. “make every soccer practice until May,” rather than “win every game”).
  4. After students have brainstormed individually, allow them to work with a partner to share their goals and provide feedback to each other.
  5. Once your students have solidified their ideas, give them strips of different colored construction paper. Encourage students to write one goal on each piece of paper. Allow them to write anonymously if they would like.
  6. Once students have written the goals, arrange the strips of paper in a firework pattern and build a bulletin board or a door display that showcases the explosion student-generated goals. This festive display will be a daily reminder for students of what they plan on achieving…and the celebration that can happen when a goal is met!
  7. Then, follow up: on a regular basis (morning work is a great time), have students journal on how they’re doing with their goals. Do they need to tweak any of the goals? Allow a time for students to share their progress…and be sure to celebrate successes, too!

And…don’t forget to set goals for yourself, too. Just because you’re the teacher doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve something new and great everyday!

Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia and a regular contributor to A Learning Experience.



Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Motivation

4 responses to “Gooooooaaaaaal!!!!!!

  1. This is a great activity. I love the bulletin board idea with it. Our administration has kid talks with all the 3-5 graders to review last year’s standardized test. Then they have the students set goals for themselves on what they would like to improve on this year. I think goal setting is great. Even the younger students can work on something. Yes, even teachers!!!!

  2. Kay Wallin

    Our school system has a system-wide goal each new school year. The goal for this year was I will graduate. In 5th grade, we took pictures of each student holding a diploma and mortar board and standing in front of a sign with the student’s year of high school graduation. A copy of this picture was put on the front page of each student’s agenda along with a promise card (signed by the student) stating that the student promised to graduate. Every time the student opens his or her agenda, he or she is reminded of that all-important long-term goal.

  3. Susan

    This is a great idea. It is good for family child care as each age group can have different goals. Also it is good for me as a provider as I have different goals for each child and we work on the alone and together. Susan

  4. ecossick

    I liked the point that you have to “conceive it before you achieve it.” So true!

    Loved all the insights from Kay, Peggy and Susan, too. Peggy is the random winner from last week. Another post to come shortly!