Goal setting worksheets guide students on their journey similar to how a map guides us when taking a road trip. Whenever, I take a road trip I break my trip into smaller parts. For example, if my destination is four hours away, I plan to take a break after driving for two hours. After driving for an hour, I tell myself that I am just one hour away and then I get that break. It would be very daunting to think that I have three hours left of driving before I arrive at my destination.
I give my students a survey that has about ten statements related to the unit we are studying. I have the students self-assess which statements they agree with and which statements they disagree with. Providing the students statements gives them clarity and purpose. The objectives that students are not able to do yet can possibly become their goals. I have students choose two goals to focus on for the unit we are studying. Units are only about 8 weeks. When we start a new unit, then we start the process of goal setting over again.
After some self-assessing, students choose their goals. I have them use a four square planner. In the first square, I have students write their two goals. Next, I have students think about how these goals will be measured. I have a list on my projector to help students. The list includes reading responses, quizzes, group discussions, and other assignments. After that, students think about the steps they need to take to reach their goal. The steps could help break down their goal. For example, if a student’s reading goal is to compare and contrast characters in a story, then he or she needs to first identify the characters in the story. Next, the student will need to identify each character’s traits and find evidence to support those traits. Lastly, the student will need to take the evidence gathered and tell how the characters are alike and different. Having steps to reach the goal help will help identify what step or steps need more practice in order to achieve the goal. You can see how breaking down each goal makes it much more manageable.
Reflecting and Making Adjustments
Goals need to be time-sensitive. Students receive a lot of informal feedback. This helps student monitor how they are doing. Weekly or biweekly reflections are a great way for students to revisit their goals. Conferring with students also helps keep them on track. Sometimes, adjustments need to be made. It could be that more action steps need to be added to support a student. If a student reaches their goals ahead of the timeline, adding another goal or adding onto an existing goal will help that student continue to achieve. Students take more ownership when they self-assess and reflect.
You may also be interested in reading, Study Habits for Successful Distant Learning.