Sunday, July 14, 2013

Setting Soft Goals for Students

I just read an interesting article from Vicki Davis at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog called "Why you should set soft goals for your classroom this year."  Davis defines "soft goals" as goals that aren't determined by test scores or standards.  Instead, they are "to be" goals that must come before the "to do" goals you set.  We must decide what we want our students to be before we can get them to do.  In response to that post, I did some reflecting and brainstorming of my own.  What do I want for my students of 2013-14?  What do I want them to be?  

I decided I wanted my students to be more:
1. passionate
2. open-minded
3. perseverant
4. focused

Now for the hard part-- how to get them there?

I believe the best way to teach is to model, so I must consistently be all of these things.  That's not terribly hard for me, so what else can I do?  Some ideas . . .

To help my students be passionate about their school, I can use my brand-new newspaper elective class to build school spirit through writing.

To help my students be more open-minded, I can share examples of characters in literature who excel at open-mindedness (like Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird) and host class discussions about the benefits of such a trait.

To help my students be more perseverant, I can hold academic conferences with my students and help them set reachable goals for themselves.  
To help my students be more focused, I can use the new block schedule to divide class time into 15-20 minute mini-lessons.  When attention starts to wane, we'll be on to the next topic.

I'd love to see some of my readers' soft goals.  Please share!

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