Guest Blogger: Student Goal Setting

Hello! I'm Tiffany from KTeacherTiff, and I'm super excited to be guest blogging over here at Apples and ABC's! I wanted to share a little something that is easy, yet makes a BIG difference with my students: goal setting! 
My school has been digging deep into the research of John Hattie by studying his book Visible Learning. We learned that one of the best things you can do to help students achieve is to help them set attainable goals. Although that seems kind of obvious, it's one of those things that I've often set out to do, but then never really followed through as well as I could.
This year, I started right off the bat with helping my students to set goals. But it isn't enough just to set a goal with students-- they have to be carefully selected, and the students have to know what steps they need to take in order to meet their goals. What are some things that you can do at school to meet your goal? What will you do at home? When do you expect to meet your goal? You may have already heard the term "SMART goal." This is an acronym for setting effective goals. See the picture below for what it stands for:
I've seen the "R" stand for different things--results-focused, relevant, and realistic are also commonly used. Basically, the goal you set with your students needs to be appropriate, and able to be assessed. If it's something that will take a long period of time for the student to achieve, then you need to break it into smaller chunks. We want students to experience success as quickly as possible! When students set goals and work toward them with success, they are much more motivated! 

I created this goal sheet to use with students and their parents. Click on the picture to grab it! 
We are also making our goals public. My kinders' first goals of the year are already on display, and a few of them have already been met. Encouraging students and praising them for working toward their goals in front of their peers increases their drive to meet their goal.
Here's a success story from this year (we're 2.5 weeks in) One of my students who entered the year knowing zero letters and who could not recognize her name, can now write it independently and can recognize and name all of the letters in it, and it only took her one week. Why? Because I helped her to create a plan, and I put it on a timetable. It looked like this (not her actual name): 

It makes sense, right? It's helpful to tell a parent and student that it is important to learn how to write his/her name. But put a timetable on it, and it's that much more effective! It creates a sense of urgency that I feel is critical to helping struggling students be successful. Here are just a few ideas for possible goals to set with your students:
Whatever the goal, remember to keep it SMART, and to have fun with it! Good luck!


  1. Wonderful post - I find my first graders are so much more invested using ideas like these! Win-Win :) Jen

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