Skip to main content

Goals - Private or Public?

Disclosure: I am enrolled in the Innovative Teaching Academy. Although enrollment for this first round is closed, you might be interested in going to the link above to get detailed information about the Academy; it might entice you to join when it opens up again in six months! This post is about something I've been thinking about today as a result of required reading for the Academy.

In one of the #ITA17 lectures, A.J. Juliani talked about the importance of setting goals, which I agree with, but then he said something that completely threw me into left field. He said that recent research has uncovered that we do better at accomplishing our goals if we keep them private. Boom!

In the classroom, allow kids to set goals and keep them private. Apparently, when we make individual goals public, we are less likely to achieve them. Not so with classroom goals. These should be made public and shared among all members of the classroom community.

OK. I need to pause for a moment in order to process this again.

First a little background about how goal setting works in my class.

My students write weekly goals in math, reading and writing. We started by brainstorming goals together and posting these on chart paper. These charts are taped to the wall below the SmartBoard. But, if truth be told, I've never seen the kids refer to them for ideas. Despite this, most students have had little trouble setting goals. Or at least it appeared that way until I asked them how it was going. They told me that it was easy to set goals in reading, but harder in math and writing, in that order.  (I won't expand on this now because that's a bigger topic for a future blog post.)

At first, students wrote their goals this way, "I am going to..."
This evolved into: "I will..." This second iteration positioned goals as something to accomplish rather than as a wish or hope.
Recently, I asked my students to write their goals this way: "I will...so that..." My hope was that by writing a "so that" they would be more intentional and aware of their goals. It's still too early to tell if this is working. (Again, another topic for another blog post.)

After students write their goals, they post them in a square space on a chart with their name. We don't do much else with the chart other than that I will occasionally take down sticky notes in math, reading or writing (mostly in reading) and talk to students about how they're doing with their goals. At the beginning of each week, they discard the goals they've accomplished, write new ones or carry over any goals they are still working on.

Now what?
I'm not sure.
I have two choices.

  1. We could keep doing what we've been doing thus far. After all, the year is almost over and I've changed this routine several times already. It would be easier to just let things stay the way they are. Don't rock the boat.
  2. Or, I could take down the goal setting chart and give kids individual charts to keep in folders that are private. Then, we could use the chart to write classroom goals instead. 

Not sure.
I need to keep thinking about this.

Ha! And, I thought I had it all figured out...

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Reading Strategies Book - Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations – Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension

The strategy lessons highlighted in Chapter 12, Supporting Students’ Conversations – Speaking, Listening, and Deepening Comprehension, in The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo are critical to students’ engagement and comprehension, as well as their ability to write literary essays, or even book reviews, summaries and reflective pieces about books. If students aren’t able to talk about books in a way that is invigorating and joyful, they will be less likely to develop an interest in growing ideas for writing about books.
In her introduction to this chapter, Jennifer Serravallo, reminds us that when conversations go well, children are inspired by what they read and are motivated to keep reading. However, when conversations fall flat, then kids get bored and tune out. How do we avoid this situation and teach kids to have focused conversations about books? The answer is easy: teach kids strategies to help them develop effective conversational skills. 

As in other blog posts a…

Saying Goodbye

I can't get used to saying goodbye to my daughters even though we've been doing it for the past 10 years. You'd think it gets easier, but it doesn't. It still feels like the first time.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.*
At the airport, I watch families with their young children and try to remember what it was like when my girls were little. What I felt like. What I was doing at the time. What we weren't doing. Was I even aware of the passage of time?

When my kids were little I lived so much in the moment that there was no time to reflect on the fact that our time as a family was measured. Sooner than we were ready, we would have to let them go. Send them on their way. Wish them an abundance of everything, but especially of love, health and joy. 

They come through you, but not from you.* 
I nod and smile, a li…

Partner Reading and Content, Too Routine (PRC2)

I'm a hoarder.
There, I've said it.
I try to deny that I'm a hoarder but it comes back to haunt me every time I move houses, or pack up my classroom at the end of the school year.
I have old articles, lesson plans, handouts, folders brimming with teaching ideas, past issues of profesional journals. I hardly throw anything out though I've learned to be more selective over the years. My one rule of thumb, and I really try to stick to this, is that if I haven't used or referred to something in a year, then it's time to toss it into the recycle bin. One exception to this rule (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) is past issues of journals from professional organizations. However, with the ability to locate articles online through my professional memberships, even this exception is becoming less and less useful, which brings me to the topic of this blog post.
I am currently reading a copy of The Reading Teacher from 2010. I've clipped a couple of informat…