Goal-Setting Notebook in Google Classroom

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Preview the Goal Setting Notebook

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Why Goal-Setting?

Goals are an easy way to get students involved in their own learning. As we learned in the visible learning research, goals can help student see their own learning. It helps them:

  • Understand their current levels of mastery.
  • Know where they are going and have a plan to get there.
  • Make adjustments when they aren't growing.
  • Reflect on their effort and effectiveness as a learner.

Why a Digital Notebook?

This digital notebook allows students to take their goals and data with them everywhere they go. It's "always on". They can share it at home, in different classrooms, or anytime they have a device.

Student Goal-Setting "That Works"

Not all goal-setting is the same. Take a look at these three goals:

  1. I want to be strong.
  2. I want to workout four days per week.
  3. I want to drop 10 pounds by November, and I'll do it by jogging each day.

Clearly, two of these three goals are more likely to be achieved. Goal-setting "that works" usually involves: a) a want, b) a numerical result, and c) a plan.

A great goal doesn't have to be a SMART goal. However, a SMART goal can be a great way to write good goals for students: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results, and Time-bound.

A Climate for Student Goal-Setting

One thing you know from your classroom experience, and we know from research - great goals aren't always about grades.

While a student may want an A, a 100, or a 4.0, sometimes the best goals focus on learning. For example, "I want to learn to write a full-page speech that persuades people." Or another learning goal could be, "I want to have a conversation in German."

Focusing on scores can have it's place, but a better practice is to create a class a climate that focuses on learning.

What role do scores and data have in student goal-setting?

Using Data and Scores in Goal-Setting

Scores are a simple way to measure growth and to determine when you meet a goal.

In a reading classroom, there's no single score that shows how good a reader can read. It's just not possible.

(Read more in our article, Common Formative Assessment)

That said, a reading rate, words read correctly in 30 seconds, reading cloze, vocabulary quiz, comprehension percent score, and many other tools can be great ways to track a reading goals on a graph. 

The same is true in a math classroom or any other subject area. In math, you might track computation, fact fluency, vocabulary growth, or skills and application percent correct.

The most important part is that the score matches the goal.

In a fitness goal, it wouldn't make sense to track bicep size if your goal is losing weight. The same is true in learning. Align goals with measurements for the best results!

Goals and Student Motivation 

At first, students will need a lot of assistance setting appropriate goals. If you set new goals each month, you'll have plenty of cycles to practice making goals better with your students.

Here are a few rules of thumb:

  1. Give students ownership over goal-setting.
  2. Match assessments to student goals.
  3. Always celebrate growth.
  4. Provide time each week or month to reflection on progress.

Goal-setting can be a great tool for student motivation and for building agency. Independent learners set their own goals, have a plan for learning, and adjust along the way!

This digital goal-setting notebook can be a great tool to guide your learners in this goal-setting process!

Preview the Goal Setting Notebook

See more on TeachersPayTeachers.

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