Thursday, July 28, 2016

Digital Goal Setting in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Why is Goal Setting Important for Students?
Goal setting is an important skill for students to master because it helps them take charge of their learning. When teachers are the only ones telling students what is important to learn, students never have the opportunity to realize their own weaknesses and strengths.   Without these realizations, improvements (goals) can never be determined.

Helping your students achieve their goals doesn't have to be difficult.
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is an easy way to to help your students outline their goals.  Goals should be specific, measurable, have an action plan, be realistic, and have a defined time limit.  When keeping these details in mind, your students' goals will be better focused, and more likely achieved.

Looking Back:  Monthly Goals Reflections
Goals are great to have; just ask anyone at the new year. However, if one does not take the time to reflect what worked or didn't, one will never fully realize if he or she has been successful.  Questions to ask your students might be:

  • How do you know you've mastered this goal? 
  • What was difficult about achieving this task? 
  • What other strategies can you use if initially unsuccessful?  

Allowing your students the time to monitor what did or did not work will help them see if more effort is needed, or if they are ready to set more challenging/different goals for themselves.

Click here for a simple brainstorming sheet to help your students get started with their goals.

Digital Resources Make it Easy to Keep Goals Organized
How many times have you jotted something important down, and then not been able to find it when needed?  Keeping papers organized, especially goal sheets that might not be used everyday, can be a recipe for disaster for unorganized students. Taming the stray papers in student desks is easy with digital resources.

Designed to work with Google Drive/Classroom and Microsoft OneDrive/365, my Monthly Digital Goal Setting and Reflection Booklet allows students to create three goals every month.  They could be academic, behavioral, or social goals.  Students are then asked to list specific strategies they will use to help accomplish each goal.

A second page for each month requires students to monitor their progress, reflect on what did or did not work for them, and to determine what they may do differently in order to be successful in the future.  Students type directly in the Google Slides presentation, and work is automatically saved.  If being used in Google Classroom, comments made by the teacher can be made in real-time, so students can get back on track if needed easily and quickly.

This booklet makes a fantastic learning tool for students to look back on throughout the school year. It also makes a great addition to portfolios (digital or traditional).  Use these as a part of parent-teacher conferences to let parents know what their child has been striving towards.  This can also be shared with future teachers of each student to see what strategies have been successful in the past (or unsuccessful).

Happy teaching!