Sunday, April 27, 2014

Goal Setting in the Classroom

In our classroom, each student has a data binder in which they set goals, collect data, and reflect on their work and goals. We call this binder their "STAR" binder.  This stands for Students Taking Academic Responsibility.  We have done quite a bit of goal setting this year, but I feel that the students are not always focused on reaching their goals. They forget about the goals when they are on a page in their binder and when it is out of is out of their mind.  I saw an idea on twitter and I thought that it may be the perfect solution to our problem. 

I made this grid and posted it on my wall right by where they line up when we leave the classroom. It is a constant reminder of what their goals are on a daily basis. As with everything that I do in the classroom, I have tweaked this process along the way. As you can see, some students had a couple of post-it notes in their square because they were still working on their old goal. Some students just kept adding post-it notes and never taking down their old goals. Some students were setting very broad goals or goals that were very far out in the future. After taking time to reflect on our goals in class each Friday, the students realized that they needed to narrow the focus of their goals. On Monday when they arrive in the morning, I have them get settled and think about a goal that they want to focus on for the week. I have the students set a SMART goal that they can measure and decide if they have actually reached it come Friday when we reflect. 
We usually share our goals on Monday during morning meeting and then we reflect on them on Friday during morning meeting or even later in the day. The students are getting much better at writing meaningful SMART goals and really trying to reach them by Friday, if not sooner! I am even setting a SMART goal each week with them and I have found it has helped me reach my goal by having it posted in the classroom for all of my little friends to see! The students will often remind each other of their goals, whether it is an academic or a behavior goal, and they will even update their goal as the week goes on. It is also a great visual reminder for me to let me know what I can be working on with each student during that week. These goals are making us more focused and more accountable as well! 


  1. thank you! I love this! I have been wondering about how to make goal setting work in a classroom! What kinds of goals do you have them set? Are they only pertaining to literacy? Do you give them parameters for their goal?

  2. They can set any goal that they wish as long as it pertains to school. Some students need literacy goals, some need math goals, some need behavior goals, etc. I work through the process of setting SMART goals with them. This way their goals are measurable and not generic like, "I will read more books this week." Instead they will write, I will finish reading "Copernicus Legacy" by Friday by reading 50 pages every night this week at home. We talk about these goals each week and reflect on them and get better at setting them as the weeks go on. :-)

  3. I loooove this! We have been doing goals and like you I found that when the goals were out of sight in their folders, they forgot about them and weren't thinking about them. I love your idea of having one goal per week and using post its that are easy to interchange. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Oh the Little Wonders

  4. Do the students keep a record of their weekly goals in their Star folders as well?

    1. Gina, We did not keep track of them last year, but this year I have plans to create a form to keep track of them each week in their data binders. It will just be a basic log of their goals. Thanks for the question.

    2. What type of data do your students keep in their binders?

    3. Check out this blog post on data binders for more information.

  5. Great post! I'll bet students love to interact with this and see how goals are fluid and constantly changing .

    :) Shelley
    The Write Stuff Teaching

  6. Wonderful idea !
    Usually we are setting SMART Goals every another week but never thought this can be done with kids.
    Thanks for sharing it :)

  7. Thank you for this!
    I want to put the picture on my website. Are you OK?

  8. Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and devising a plan to achieve the result you desire.
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