Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Setting Goals... and Keeping Them!

As I think about goals, I think about my goal to write a post once a week... BWAHAHAHA! Yea, that has slipped. But I have not given up and will continue to try my best for the six of you that actually read my blog :)

But in thinking about Goal Setting, I wanted to share something that my Falcons school does for goals (and that I would love to implement at our Wildcats school).

When I started last year, our Principal and Librarian had a program going for 9-week goal setting. 

During Library time, every 9 weeks (at the end of the grading period) our students would come up with an academic goal and try to achieve it. If they achieved it, they got a sucker and we took their pictures and hung them on a bulletin board by the Library. They would also get an extra recess (free-time in the gym or outside) during the next week's Library time. It's a fantastic way to get them accustomed to setting goals and working towards them and some positive reward for a job well done!

However, when I started, our Principal kind of "handed" the program over to me and I am in-charge of it now. And we have made some technological changes :)

Student would have a sheet of 8.5x11 paper that said:

1st 9 week goal:_____
2nd 9 week goal:_____
3rd 9 week goal:_____
4th 9 week goal:_____

We had one sheet for every student, 1st-6th. All split up by classroom in a filing cabinet in the Library. Every nine weeks, we would get out the almost 300-sheets of paper and check each student to see if they had met their goal or not. This also meant that for nine weeks, the students had NO idea what their goal was because frankly, let's admit it, they forget! And with them closed up in a filing cabinet in a closet in the Library, no one wants to ask to see it and frankly, no one wants to go rummaging around to find it.

Not an effective system.

At the beginning of this year, I asked our Librarian how long she keeps the goal sheets (for data purposes). She told me that at the end of every year she pitches them... Every year almost an entire ream of paper trashed. Holy Smokes!

So we came up with a new plan. 

I created a Google Doc (yea, these things are SUPER useful!) that looks a little something like this:

I call up students one-by-one during their Library time (while they're finding a book) and we select their teacher (drop down menu), which 9-weeks it is (drop down menu with 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th), put their name, and type their goal. Older grades get to type their own and little kids are AMAZED at seeing their name and teacher on it. Then we hit submit and the information goes into a spreadsheet that looks like this:

All I have to do is print it out and I get a 1-page document with everyone's goal per class (I added a check-mark column to be able to check off if they made their goal or not). 

So I now have a 10-page document per grading period that is about 1/30th of what we had before. I give one copy of each class' to the teacher (in case their students want to know) and I keep a copy.

Next 9-weeks, we do the same process and at the end, I can sort by name to be able to see each students' progress with their goals. 

I LOVE this process and the students love seeing their progress with goals and really enjoy trying to beat each other. Going tech has really cut down on the time and, let's face it, it's pretty cool too! Plus all the paper we save!! It also gives me track-able data to show what I have done with students and I count it as a classroom lesson (since every time we meet we go over what makes a good goal, how we can achieve our goal, etc.)

Do you do any school-wide goal setting at your school?

Let me know!

And as always, have a great day!



  1. Way to work smarter not harder (and helping the environment)! I love using Google Docs in my counseling program and I love the idea of individual goal setting.

    Are the goals academic or are they able to pick any aspect of their lives?

    ~Heather Thomas

  2. Hey Heather! Thanks for the comment- we have them focus on academic goals for this. But it can be anything school related- honor roll, attendance, reading x amt of books, beat my time in gym, improve my science grade, etc. Anything they can do over a 9 week period (so graduate college not a good 9 week goal!). LOL thanks for reading!

  3. Hello! I was doing some research on goal setting for my HS students. We are a small alternative school with about 35-40 students. Is this a Google form? Does the spreadsheet generate automatically with Google forms? I am hoping to do this with my students at the beginning and end of every trimester so that they can set new goals and reflect on their previous goals. Do the students get a copy of what they submit, or can they? I want my students more in control of managing their trimester goals. Thoughts?