With the start of the new school year on us, it’s the perfect time to get your students to school by learning how to set positive goals. Goal setting is an important life skill that all elementary students should know. While students may be a little too young to think about what college they want to go to, or the careers they may want, it’s never too late to teach them the importance of the institution, and achieving a goal could be. Here are a few tips to teach your elementary students to set goals.
Define what a “target” Means
Elementary students may think that the word “goal” means when you refer to a sporting event. So, the first thing you want to do is brainstorm students about what they think setting a “goal” means. You can use a sports event reference to help you. For example, you can tell students that when an athlete makes a goal, the “goal” is the result of their hard work. You can also find where students have the meaning in the dictionary. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word goal as “something you are trying to do or achieve.”
Learn the importance of the Goals
Once you have taught your elementary students the meaning of the word, now is the time to teach the importance of goal setting. Discuss with your students that goal setting helps you feel more confident in yourself, helps you make better decisions in your life, and gives you motivation. Ask students to think about the time they needed something they loved, for an even better sacrifice result. You can give them an example if they are not sure. For example, you can say:
I like to get a cup of coffee and a donut before work every day, but it can get very expensive. I want to surprise my kids and take them on a family vacation, so I have to give up my morning ritual to save money doing that.
This example shows your students that you have given something that you liked for an even better result. It explains how powerful setting goals and achieving them can be. By giving up your morning routine of coffee and donuts, you were able to save enough money in your family on vacation.
Teach students how to set realistic goals
Now that students understand the meaning of a goal, as well as the importance of goal setting, now is the time to set some realistic goals. Together as a class, brainstorm a few goals that you think are realistic. For example, students can say, “My goal is to get a better mark on my math test this month.” Or “I’ll strive to finish all my homework by Friday.” By helping your students set small, achievable goals that can be achieved quickly, you will help them understand the process of setting and reaching a goal. Then, if they understand this concept you can have them set even bigger goals. Have students focus on which goals are most important (make sure they are measurable, achievable, as well as specific).
Developing a method to achieve the goal
Once students have chosen the specific goal they want to achieve, the next step is to show them how they are going to achieve it. You can do this by showing students the following step-by-step procedure. For this example, the goal of the students is to test their spelling.
- Step 1: Do all spelling homework
- Step 2: Practice spelling words every day after school
- Step 3: Practice spelling worksheets every day
- Step 4: Play spelling games or go on the Spellingcity.com app
- Step 5: Get an A + on my dictation
Make sure students have a visual reminder of their goals. It is also wise to have a daily or weekly meeting with each student to see how to develop their goals. Once they reach their goal, it’s time to celebrate! Make a big deal out of it, this way it will want them to make even bigger goals in the future.
Help your students achieve their dreams with Goal Setting Exercises
Setting goals is a topic that transcends the traditional curriculum. It is an important life skill that if learned and used daily can make a difference in the life of your students.
Goal-setting materials are plentiful, but many students do not receive adequate instruction to set goals for two reasons. First, most teachers cannot afford to neglect the subject for several weeks, and second, the purchase of textbooks to use only a single chapter on goal setting is hardly a justified use of limited educational funds.
Many teens need to be taught to dream for themselves because if they are not, they tend to accept goals imposed by adults and thus miss the joy of seeing personal dreams fulfilled.
Introducing Set Goal
Since visualizing the future is often difficult for teens, it is helpful to start the daydreaming. To integrate goal writing in your course, introduce the unit with material related to your content that refers to dreams or goals. This can be a poem, a story, a biographical sketch or a news article. Make sure to distinguish between “dreams” like sleep experiences and “dreams” like aspirations.
Defining target areas
Explain to your students that it is easier to think about our life in the categories than it is to think of all aspects at once. Ask them how they can categorize the different aspects of their lives. If they are having trouble getting started, prod them by asking them for a list of people and activities that are important to them and see if they fit into 5-8 categories. It is important that students invent their categories rather than create perfect classification systems. Allowing them to share ideas will help students realize that a variety of categorization schemes would work.
Sample Life Categories
- mentally families
- physical friends
- mentally Hobby
- Sport School
- dating Jobs
Finding meaning in Daydreams
When students are happy with their categories, ask them to choose one they want to focus on the first. (The length of this unit can be easily adjusted by the number of categories that you guide students through. Care should be taken, however, that students don’t work on too many categories at once.)
Divide goal dreams worksheets. Explain that their goals should be for themselves only; they cannot set a goal that implies someone’s behavior, but their own. However, they spend at least five minutes daydreaming about themselves about this category, imagining themselves in the most wonderful ways – grounded, delicious, and as perfect as imaginable. A 3-5 minute period of silence can be helpful for this activity. Then have students describe how she had imagined herself in this daydream about the goal dream worksheet. While this writing could alternatively be assigned as a journal, keeping this sheet with later, related target activities can be more helpful. Students must repeat the process with one or two additional categories of life.
Students then have to determine what part of their dream seems to be calling to them. They must complete the sentences, “The part of this daydream that most appeals to me is because… .” Encourage students to fully explore their feelings, writing in as much detail as possible, because they can use some of these ideas later when writing their personal goals.
When two or three goal dream sheets are completed, students must select the category they want to write goals for the first.
The next step is to help students identify a desire to form a goal. To do this, they need to look at the reasons why certain aspects of their daydreams appeal to them as well as daydreaming itself. For example, if a student dreamed of becoming a lifeguard, and decided that it would appeal to him because he would work outside, working outside the home could be more important to him than actually being a lifeguard. For example, students should spend some time thinking about what seems important. It can help students emphasize ideas that seem important.
Then they must also investigate which aspects of their daydreams seem far-fetched and which seem to be within the bounds of what is possible.While the folk wisdom that we should teach the youth that they can achieve anything if they want it bad enough, “bad enough” is rarely translated by teenagers over the years of dedicated work and determination. Instead, youth interpret this folk wisdom as meaning that if their desire is strong enough, minimal effort is all it takes.
So, when we present as role models, people who achieve unexpected performances such as Christopher Reeves directing films after nearly complete paralysis, we always have to describe the grueling work that came between the goal and it’s fulfillment.
Conducting the Dream without damaging the Dreamer
Another problem created by people embracing “You can do anything” is the tendency to ignore the requirement for superior intelligence, which cannot be created by willpower or diligence. Study this question subtly so as not to discourage students from having dreams, but remember that if you encourage students to set goals they have little chance of meeting you to rob them of the joys of achieving personal goals.
You can help students achieve realistic self-assessments without hurting their feelings when you point out that people are happiest when they work and play in terms of their interests and relative strengths. Discuss the concept of multiple intelligence so that students read the brief descriptions of each type of intelligence, highlighting the people they think have their strengths. This allows students with low intellectual ability to focus on an area of potential success without announcing that they are unable to do anything for which there is superior intelligence.
If you have time and resources for personality and interest stocks, these should be given at this time in the unit.
Remember, although most of us would like to be a unit on goal setting that includes a variety of assessments, career exploration, goal writing, planning and self-reinforcement, most of us also have packaged curricula to educate. Nevertheless, if the students practice several hours of purpose writing in many different classes together, maybe we can teach the students how to make their dreams come true.
When the students have summarized the results of the different evaluations on a summary or have simply decided that their area of strength is on a list of multiple intelligences, and they have chosen one of the goals they want to work first, they are ready to learn to write a specific, personal goal.
General goals are just the first step in making dreams come true. Once the students have established general goals and have identified what appeals to them, they should be taught to write specific goals the way winners do.
Teaching ideas students write specific goals
- Students need to be persuaded to make their goals known positively and are likely to say that they cannot say that they will “implement” a given goal because they are not sure they can. Tell them that, despite their reservations, it is essential that they use the words, “I will …” because the wording will affect their belief in their ability to influence the goal. Be persistent on this even to the point of saying they will not get credit for the assignment unless they follow your directions.
- Initially, some students will struggle to translate a general purpose into one that is specific and measurable. Class discussion is very helpful both in learning how to be specific and seeing a range of possible goals. Ask students to measure how that different goal could be measured for students who are struggling. This can also be done in cooperative learning teams.
- Estimating end date problems for many students. Just tell them to take a reasonable period to reach their goal and to be honest with themselves about when they plan to work with it. Since estimating the completion of the major goals is going to carry out the steps or sub-goals, students need the steps and the length of time to estimate them for each. This list will be used later to create a Gantt chart . Have students hold off at the beginning to work on the goal for a week to give you time to plan and reward techniques to teach.
- After listing the many steps required to achieve a goal, some students may decide that is too much trouble . It is helpful at this point to write down the benefits they expect to derive from fulfilling their purpose. It usually involves feelings about oneself. Make sure students are still excited about their goal. If she cannot regain their original enthusiasm, they have to start over with a new goal.
- If the goal involves several steps, creating a Gantt chart is useful and fun for students whether they use project software or fill in a chart by hand. Some students have a hard time with the concept of putting units of time over the top, so make sure to walk around and column headings of each student.
You may want your software to see if you have any project management programs because they can probably be used to create Gantt charts. The examples of Gantt charts found on the internet are not marked, so you might want to show students a simpler one done by hand or with software that makes grids, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. Better yet, if you could use a project management software because it is likely to be a strong motivator.
Once students have learned to write specific goals and plan subgoals on a Gantt chart, they should be ready for a lesson on his self-motivation and momentum retention.
Focusing on What’s Next
When the students have set goals, sub-goals and a timetable for completion, they are ready for the real thing: their behavior changes.
Since telling students that they can be daunting at the start of a difficult task, you should use your professional judgment to decide when to discuss the difficulties people face when trying to develop new patterns of behavior. Help them to see this opportunity as a challenge that can help successful people master. Targeting people who have overcome major challenges in their lives can also lead nicely into a unit of heroes.
Begin the lesson this third goal lesson by asking the students to dream their goal worksheet for the target area they are working on and review their goal writing worksheet. Then students lead through the steps on the Enforcement Motivation and Momentum worksheet.