Goal Setting in the Classroom

Goal Setting in the Classroom

I’ve been working hard to develop a growth mindset culture in my classroom. We’ve been practicing persistence and effort. Part of this practice means looking back at where we’ve been, then looking ahead at where we’re going with our learning.

Can goal setting really be achieved with five-year-olds? Absolutely!

**Read about how I teach Growth Mindset in the Classroom**

When I first started teaching I would plan big goal setting moments, usually around conference time. Students would look through all their work and choose goals to focus on, then share them with their families. This is still something I do, but I find it works SO much better when I embed mini goal setting moments within everyday learning. It makes goal setting a lot more familiar for students when they do it regularly. Plus, reflecting on their learning and planning for improvement really does help students learning move forward.

During a recent writing lesson, I showed students an anonymous sample of student writing (actually borrowed from the class next door). We looked at it together and students loved pulling it apart and pointing out the errors. There was no risk of failure as they were looking at an anonymous sample.

Students shared their thinking about what the writer had done well and then suggested a goal: eg. “I think they are good at remembering their full stops but they need to get better at remembering finger spaces”.

Then it was my turn to model the practice of writing, reflecting and goal setting. I wrote a mini recount of my weekend on the board and used the same sentence structure to reflect and set a goal: “I think I’m good at writing sight words and I’d like to get better at remembering to use capital letters at the beginning of a sentence”.

This is where one of my favourite classroom tools came in very handy: Seesaw! I took a photo of my writing using the Seesaw app (it’s free!), then used the microphone tool to record myself reflecting on my writing. I replayed the recording to check it, modeling good portfolio practice, then uploaded it.

The students then wrote their own recounts and used Seesaw to reflect on their writing. This made the reflection and goal setting process SO easy! Pre-Seesaw I would have students write their goals on a post-it note and put it on their writing page … which is a HUGE task for five-year-old students to do on top of writing a recount in the first place.

Here are a few examples of their first attempt at goal setting during writing lessons using Seesaw:Goal Setting with Young Children

Goal Setting with Young Children


We will continue to use this goal setting practice with our writing and other learning opportunities. I’ll let you know how it goes!

How do you support your students to set learning goals? 

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