Friday, August 17, 2012

Goal Setting

Well, training is over.  And although it was pretty intense, I actually feel like I came out of there the better for it.  I definitely have a firmer grasp of the PYP program, so it's not a complete mystery to me any more.  Tons more to learn of course, but at least I'm not in a fog.  In reflection on that process of training though, the only reason why I'm not in a fog is because I really made the effort to pay attention. 

Which has led me to meditating on the post I wrote the other day about how I don't like get to know you games and having my attention called for in a way like I do to my students. If I'm uncomfortable with those things as an adult, isn't it possible that my kids are too?  On the last day of training I really tried to make a mental effort to let go of feeling annoyed at the method.  Because I had to admit that I couldn't think of a better way to get our attention.  And, shouldn't we experience what it might feel like to be one of our students? It was an opportunity to gain perspective.

I'm wondering how much I've missed out on in the last ten years of my teaching career because of a ridiculous feeling of self-entitlement that I was above having to pay attention? Hermmmm....I still have a lot of work to do on myself as a person.

There was a lot of great little tid bits that came out of the training aside from the real meat of the concepts- one of them being a goal setting activity.

At the beginning of every year, my school has the kids set a goal, and they write it up in some sort of thematically cute way and post it outside of the rooms.  In second grade, they are as simple as "I want to be a better reader".  In training though, we did this tri-fold activity with our goal setting.

So yes, the first part is to set a goal.  So a student could, of course, still write something as simple as "I want to be a better reader". But the deeper meaning and ownership comes in when the student reflects on how they will know they've met their goal- the evidence of achieving it, and then analyzing how to get to that point.

Simply fold a piece of paper in thirds, and label the sections across the top from left to right, Goal, Steps, and Evidence

Setting the goal is the first step of course:

 But then skip over to the right hand side and write down how you'll know you've met your goal.  I used this one about Junie B. Jones because I had a low reader this last year who loved Junie B. When we talked about good fit books, she was very disappointed that she couldn't put Junie B. in her book basket.  So then I showed her the reading levels, where she was and where Junie B. was on the scale.  She made a decision to get there, even though it was two years worth of growth for her. Showing kids exactly how much work they have to do to get where they really want to go can never be a bad thing. You can also write more than one way you'll know you met your goal.  Maybe you've met this goal also by UNDERSTANDING the story, or being able to write a book report, or performing a skit.
 So now it's time to go back to the middle, and think of AT LEAST three things that you could do to help you get to your goal.  Why not one or two?  Goals are something you really have to work for, aren't they?  If you only have to do one or two things, then isn't that just something to put on a to-do list?  Anyway- so here are three things I thought of that might work.  I suppose I could even add a fourth one and say practice reading with my parents. Or older brother/sister and whatnot.
And there you have it- a road map to success.  I definitely want to pump up my goal setting with this method this year. And I also think it would be great for keeping myself and my lesson planning on track as well.  And how easy is it to just fold a piece of paper?  I always have one lying about....

I also loved this pin I ran across:
Art Projects for Kids: Me & My Goals Self Portrait

click the picture to go to Kathy Barbro's site  Art Projects For Kids with the directions and printable. And then join her blog!  She has AWESOME art projects and does an excellent job of making them seem doable by even someone with very little art skills.

I'd really like to do this incorporating the trifold method- just separate the notebook paper horizontally.  Or actually, I wouldn't even have to.  We could make it a little 3-D by pasting our trifold over the self portrait part and then have the hands come out and wrap around....oooo, feeling excited!  I think it would be a great first week project.

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