EDUDEAF: Goal Setting

Key Words: Instructional Strategies, general, k-12

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-21 17:10:01 EST
From: CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Cathy Brandt)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Folks, saw this on the TAWL-a list. I dropped a private note to this lady to ask if I could share part of her message with this list. She happily agreed. But, she also wanted to be sure to let folks know that this is just an attempt on her part and nothing that comes from hard facts or research. ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- Return-Path:

For several years I've wanted to have students set goals for themselves, and for various reasons, I just haven't done it. This year, concentrating on alternative assessment, I was inspired to try it. I've really struggled over the most meaningful way to do this. Would it be too hard for 5 year old children to understand?

I decided to use the basketball goal analogy. I brought our portable basketball goal into the classroom with the word "Goals" on it. We talked about what shooting for a goal meant in basketball. We talked about how to be good at getting a goal one had to practice and practice. We talked about how you had to practice to become good at anything. When we make a "goal" it means we decide on something we want to get better at or something we want to learn or something we want to do. I showed them the Professional Development Plan that teachers are asked me to do each year...and talked about what my goals were going to be for the year. Then we talked about what were school (learning) goals and what were home goals -- I gave examples of each kind.

During one day last week, I had an individual conference with each child and went over their report card with them, telling them all the things they were doing well. I showed them the samples of their work that I was sending to their parents. We talked about what they might need to work on a bit more. Then I asked each child to think of one or two things they really wanted to do better or that they wanted to learn. By in large they did a wonderful job! I was amazed. A couple of boys, of course, said they wanted to play basketball, but we talked about that being a home goal and not one that they would learn in the classroom. When a child seemed stumped for an idea, I'd ask if they wanted me to make some suggestions and we'd refer to their report card and look at areas where they needed some reinforcement. Then almost all of them came up with very realistic goals!

I wrote each parent a note in the report card, telling them of the goals their child set for themselves. I've typed each child's goals for them, laminated them, and taped them in their work folders. During the next six weeks we referred to them often and then, before the next six weeks we reviewed their progress and set new goals for the next 6 weeks. What fun!

The next step....maybe to have parents set goals for their child each 6 weeks. They told me their overall goals for the year, but setting smaller goals each 6 weeks would be interesting. Maybe some would become more involved with their child's school work.

THOUGHTS ON GOAL SETTING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN Things to ponder:
How can we best help young children learn to set realistic and meaningful goals for themselves?
We need to think about ... are the goals teacher decided, child decide, jointly decided...

When helping children set goals, listen to them before hand...what kinds of things have they been asking you to help them with!

In order to set goals, the child needs to have an awareness of where they are...

Is there literature that would help children understand more about what setting goals means? These are some suggestions that came from teachers on the TAWL listserv....

Dianne Walsh
Kindergarten Teacher
Gainesville, Florida
walshd@mail.firn.edu

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-21 19:41:14 EST
From: stevel@HCDB.K12.HI.US (steve laracuente)
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Dianne,

That is a great idea to ask the students what goals they want to achieve. It's self motivating. Keep up the good work! I often ask the students what they want to learn, which is similar to asking for the goals you discussed with the students, but you do a more methodical follow-up and that is great. Maybe I will try to set up a system similar to yours.

Steve Laracuente

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Subj: goals--thanks Dianne and more book titles (fwd)
Date: 97-01-21 22:40:44 EST
From: CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Cathy Brandt)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Here are some suggested books to use in goal setting with children.

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Subj: student goals
Date: 97-01-22 09:57:27 EST
From: meccariu@UNLINFO.UNL.EDU (Malinda Eccarius)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

How can we help students set realistic and meaningful goals for themselves?

This may sound somewhat politically incorrect, but maybe the first thing we need to do is refrain from giving the impression that everything our students do now is perfect. I hear so often that self esteem has to be built on praise, and that too much criticism reduces risk taking. (To set or achieve a goal, you have to take a risk).

I am a strong advocate of providing descriptive praise, catching kids being good, and letting them know that trying is an important first step and worthy of pride. However, a child who thinks he or she has nothing left to improve or learn has no reason to set goals. The child who has learned that failure may be emotionally uncomfortable but can be survived is likely to take risks, as long has that child has also experienced successful achievement of a goal.

So, to help children set goals:

1. I would set goals of my own--real ones, small ones, that the kids can understand, and make my pursuit of each goal obvious, my attitude towards temporary setbacks clear, and my feelings about my progress honest.

2. I would use the books, and stories, and PATHS curriculum sections on this topic, to introduce the concepts in a nonthreatening (nonpersonal way).

3. I would make sure that if the whole class set goals (everyone at report card time, or whatever), that those goals were not comparable between children. Kids set competitive goals without our instruction.

4. I would try to help individual children think about, set, and pursue individual goals at the time when those goals became important or the need for them obvious. The previous experience with goal setting can be used as a parallel:

" I'm glad you want to learn your multiplication tables. Remember when you decided to get 90% in spelling? What did you do first? Right, you wrote down the goal. How will you write this goal? Now, what did you think about next? Yes, how will you achieve your goal? What steps will you take? Practicing at home is a good step. Rewarding yourself is a good step. When will you reward yourself..." (of course, the conversation depends on the steps your class uses to set and achieve goals).

5. I would try to keep early goal setting simple and limited, one at a time at first, to be certain that the student became familiar with the process.

6. I would mediate the process as it occurred, remembering that I cannot anticipate all of the surges, pitfalls, and unexpected situations that may arise.

The greatest danger I see to such undertakings is making them artificial, doing for the sake of doing. The other danger I see is starting the process without carrying it through (providing adequate mediation the whole way). The benefits, of course, are numerous. Children with enhanced self esteem from true accomplishment, children who are willing to expend effort, children who are independently motivated to recognize and pursue their own gifts, often come from environments where adults model and teach those behaviors.

Malinda--whose current goal is improved physical and mental health, accomplished by healthful eating and water walking at 6:15 in the morning. I must be crazy!

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-22 12:51:13 EST
From: stevel@HCDB.K12.HI.US (steve laracuente)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

The IEP is supposed to be the place where children set their goals. I believe all children should attend their IEP meetings but I doubt many do. I always want my High School students involved.

Steve Laracuente

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-22 14:20:12 EST
From: Mcfdyn@AOL.COM
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Maybe for elementary teachers, you could set the goals in the classroom, write them out and have the student sign them, then bring them to the ARD meeting to be included in the IEP (and watch everyone else's jaws drop!!)

kathy'
san antonio
mcfdyn@aol.com

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-23 00:44:52 EST
From: dehahn@TIAC.NET (Christofer deHahn)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Generally this kind of thing doesn't apply to younger children, however it's a great idea for older children (pre-teen, teen) to be active participants in their TEAM meeting and IEP process.

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-23 18:15:33 EST
From: stevel@HCDB.K12.HI.US (steve laracuente)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I disagree. Younger children know what they want. You just have to know how to ask them. I often wonder why adults argue about what to do for a child without asking the child.

Steve Laracuente

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Subj: Re: student goals (fwd)
Date: 97-01-23 22:06:24 EST
From: jshaw@NETIDEA.COM (Jeanne Shaw)
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I have been setting goals with my itinerant students for several years now...about 5 I guess. We sit down and decide what they want to work on for the year (sometimes we remember in June to look back at the year and forward to the next as well)...I get some input, they get some input and then we write up a contract. We write long term goals like "improve vocabulary" and then objectives (short term goals) for the year, then strategies of things that we are going to do to reach those short term goals and how we will know when we are there. I have to be really clear that once they reach the short term goal there is always another--sort of like going up a flight of stairs...you don't reach the top with just one step (unless you are a superhero).

Our goal setting contract is sort of like their IEP but more 1-1 with them, since most of them do not go to their IEP meetings. Their contract may then be incorporated into their IEP (or not, depending on the classroom teacher).

We use our goal setting contract at the end of each session to look ahead to what we want to work on next time (sometimes we can't because of immediate needs). And I ask them to write their own reports at each reporting period reflecting on how they are progressing. These usually start out with: "I'm doing good in...." and we usually work on trying to be specific...."how do you know that?". This year I am trying to get them to keep a log of what they did or learned at the end of each session so that their own reporting is easier (and mine too!) but I find we often run out of time to get this done.

My experience has been that the younger students get good at goal setting fast and the older ones just want me to do it ("ah, I dunno...you're the teacher...that's your job"). My youngest student I have done this with was in Grade 3. He took a lot of coaching the first year. He is now in Grade 7 and for the last couple of years has walked into our session on the first day and said, "I want to work on... speechreading/study skills/help with Socials vocabulary....this year".

Goal setting with my itinerant students and getting them to understand goals is getting easier all the time because part of the new BC career and personal planning curriculum includes setting goals. Although I DO find that many teachers/parents don't understand or use CONCRETE and achievable goals so I do a lot of extra work in this area. The Grade 7 student now HATES this because I told him that "work harder in hockey" was not a goal (and his dad and coach had told him that it was) and there was no way he would even talk to me about it not being a goal. I asked him how HE would know that he had achieved "work harder" and he listed all sorts of really good _goals_ but he WOULD NOT admit that these were the actual goals...we agreed to disagree and to set goals in a different area of his personal life where I didn't have to argue against dad and coach :-)

I find PARTS of an OLD curriculum from?????Kendall school???? called Shooting for Goals and PARTS of "A Crash Course in Study Skills" from Linguisystems good for learning about goals and for stimulating my mind to think of good activities.

Jeanne Shaw
Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
SD #20 (Kootenay-Columbia), British Columbia
Canada

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Subj: Goal Setting
Date: 97-01-25 09:40:28 EST
From: CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Cathy Brandt)
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To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Good morning,

I have a practicum student beginning on Tuesday. She'll be in my classroom for the rest of the year on Tues, Thurs and Fridays from 8 until 11:35. I thought this might be a good time to try some of the goal setting ideas that we have discussed here. I plan to have a few of my own as well as asking her to have a few. Then I plan to conference with each child and her to give them an opportunity to share with her and me things they like, things they do well and things they would like to learn more about. During this conference I am going to also ask them what they would like to do better and use this as their goal setting.

I think it might be wise for her and me to have our discussion first without the children. After that we could then do it again and model it for the kids. Hopefully, this will give them a better idea of what kinds of things we are wanting to accomplish.

Any other ideas?

Cathy

Uploaded by B.J. Lawrence / Kent State University / Deaf Education Major