When asked about academic goals, students will usually say something along the lines of, "I want to get an A in ... "
When pressed about how they'll get the A it becomes obvious that they don't have a good plan. Worse, they often fail to understand what it really means to get an A.
Regardless of the class or topic, in order to perform well (academically), students need to develop student skills. If a student struggles with organization, the issues that arise from their lack of organization will cause problems in all areas of their life, not just in math class. By helping students to identify student skills where they possess a deficiency, and then supporting them in improving in that area, student performance will increase (or that's the theory).
This year I am taking on a huge task to help students develop better student skills, to develop their intrinsic motivations, and to better understand what getting good grades means. The initial step is a four to five day process, which is great to open the school year, where students are exposed to the key concepts at hand (they'll be described in detail later). Then, students will write a SMART goal that is academically focused and supported by the development of attainable student skills. Each week, when grades are given, students will monitor and adjust their goals based on progress. This process will be on-going throughout the year.
Here in my home state of Arizona we start school earlier than most places. I have already gone through the first week and buy-in was superb. The program did a great job building community while setting high academic standards and establishing the roles of teacher and student. Below you'll find a lesson plan with downloadable PowerPoint, appropriate worksheets, and SMART Goal Planner. Click the lesson button below to download the lesson outline.
Lesson: Introduction to Goal Setting, Motivation, Engagement, and Student Skills
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students the background information needed to write a quality, achievable academic goal that will focus on the development of student skills, leaving the actual grade earned as a by-product of the practice of student skills.
Download the PowerPoint and the lesson with the links above. The lesson will walk you through each day and has links to all of the documents that accompany the lesson. This includes worksheets that help students learn what is most important from a handful of YouTube videos, a sample SMART goal they will critique and improve, the Student Skills List, and the SMART Goal worksheet. The SMART Goal worksheet will be used weekly as students monitor their progress with their goals and see how their grades reflect their focus on improving their student skills.
If you have questions or concerns, please email me.