Goals help set a purpose and a direction for where you are headed. While you are building your classroom community, why not take the time to make some common goals that EVERY student in your classroom can work towards? Here's a little glimpse into how I do this in my classroom.
Have you ever tried setting goals with second graders at the beginning of the year? It can be quite an entertaining process. In fact, it actually makes a great conversation starter! Here are several examples of what is usually suggested:
Once I take all of the suggestions, I focus in on two things: goals must be specific and realistic.
We then go through the suggestions and have some great conversations about what specific and realistic actually mean:
This one is specific, but not realistic. I don't want my students coming to school every day if it means spreading sickness like wildfire! Ugh, I still remember December of 2012 when my attendance was hovering around 40-50% each day because families weren't keeping their kids home or sending them back before they were feeling better.
This one is realistic, but not specific enough. I start probing for more information - how will we know it is clean? Who decides when it's clean enough? Fortunately, our night custodian decided to award the Golden Garbage Can for the cleanest classroom each week. He also started giving classrooms a grade every day so we could see how clean our classroom was in someone else's eyes.
This is another specific goal, but unrealistic. I politely ask how many students have ever done their homework, but left it on the bus, left it on the kitchen counter, or just plain forgot to complete an assignment. Most hands are raised. We talk about how nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes.
Another specific goal, but unrealistic. In our school we use guided reading levels and our curriculum and testing materials top out at level W (though we have access to the A to Z materials). My last group of students entered reading anywhere from level A to level Q. This is when I explain to students that academic goals are not the best choices for classroom goals because everyone learns at their own speed and academics should not be a competition in second grade.
So, what kind of goals do we set? Here are the goals one class made:
Not only are these goals specific and realistic, I love that there are visuals so students can track their progress all year long (students can help color in the images as they are completed).
With any goal, it's also important to help determine a celebration for success. This particular class decided on the following rewards:
1 Goal Met - Homework Pass
2 Goals Met - Extra Recess
3 Goals Met - Ice Cream Treat
4 Goals Met - Pizza and Movie Party
I should also take the time to mention that this class also had a unique situation arise that I didn't anticipate. They completed Goal #3, then Goal #4, and then Goal #1. Each time they met a goal, we added another page on top. Well, they completed Goal #3 again.
At first they were celebrating because they thought they had earned the pizza & movie party, but when we talked about whether all four goals had met, they realized they hadn't. We decided it would be fair to earn one of the previous rewards again instead because, let's face it - they deserved to be recognized for their efforts!
So there's a little glimpse into how I set goals with my students each year! Let me know if you have any questions.