The importance of goal-setting

I feel like I spend a lot of time in the classroom focused on goal-setting.  Learners set goals for reading and writing, math and science.  They think back on their learning behaviors and set new goals.  They think about their work as a community member and set goals.  They talk and write about goals, reflect on goals, and make plans to meet those goals.

“What are you working on as a reader/writer/mathematician/fill-in-the-blank?” we ask.  “What goals are you working on?”

Today as we settled in to writer’s workshop, I shared a story with students about my physical therapy from the previous day.  I had left school early to go to my PT appointment, and my students knew that I was anxious about what the physical therapist would say.  To put it lightly, she wasn’t pleased.

“That is definitely not far enough,” she said sternly as I bent my leg as far as I possibly could.  “We’re going to have to work on that!”

And work on it we did.  For the next hour, I worked on my goal: bending my knee to ninety degrees.  It was painful.  Agonizingly painful.  But with my goal in mind and my physical therapist’s help, I made progress, little by little.  As I finished the session with 15 minutes of the ice compressor (my favorite part by far!), she asked me to reflect on my progress and set goals for the week.

Sound familiar, anyone?

With nothing else to do but reflect while I laid there, I set goals to meet before Friday’s appointment.  Then during writer’s workshop today, I shared some of these goals with writers as an example of how taking stock and setting goals can reinvigorate you, provide you with renewed purpose, and motivate you to work harder.

Writers left the carpet today with clear goals.  They wrote up a storm.  And one of my students even approached me on the way to recess with an accountability plan for my PT goals.  I’m to check in with the class and “show them the evidence” (her words) that I’ve been working on bending my leg.  That being said, I need to do some PT exercises before I take out those math assessments to grade!

What are you working on as a (fill-in-the-blank)?  What are your goals?  How are you planning to meet them?

Slice of Life

Thanks to the writers at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life every Tuesday!



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