The best way to help students see the goal-setting process in action is to set a class goal and work together to achieve it.
As any effective teacher knows, telling isnt teaching. Simply telling your students about the goal-setting process is not going to help them learn to set goals for themselves. The best way to help students see the process in action is to set a class goal and work together to achieve it.
Have your class brainstorm a variety of class goals they might want to achieve over a period of several days or weeks. Appropriate goals might be to have everyone in the class learn their times tables, read a certain number of books, or raise money for an important cause. After your class has decided on a goal, help them word their goal in clear and measurable terms. For example, Our class will read 100 books before October 1st."
Then create an action plan with several specific steps. Remind your class that an action plan involves, you guessed it -- action! You have to take action to reach your goals, and each step in the plan must be something that you do. For the above goal, an action plan might include asking each student to read one book per week for five weeks, and having students record their reading in home reading logs; spending 30 minutes per day of class time reading; and making a chart to track class progress.
The third step of the goal-setting process is to have students read the goal daily and visualize themselves reaching that goal. Display the class goal and action plan in a prominent area. Each morning review the goal and discuss any actions to be taken during the day. A class progress chart can help with that step. For example, students might color one square on a Hundred Board chart for each book they read, visualizing how the board will look when its completely colored.
As you track your progress, you and your class might notice that your original action plan isnt working quite the way you planned. If that is the case, take time to revise your action plan and brainstorm new strategies. Dont be afraid to eliminate any parts of the plan that just arent producing results.
When you reach your class goal, be sure to celebrate in some way. A celebration isnt always a party, and it doesnt have to cost money. Celebrating can be taking a few minutes to bask in your success. Ask your principal to recognize your class on the intercom or publish a short write-up in the school newspaper. Do a special class activity or present your class with an award at the next Open House. The more students celebrate their successes and focus on their accomplishments, the more likely they are to achieve their future goals.
For more information and resources for helping students set and achieve both group and individual goals, see Laura Candles Classroom Goal Setting Power Pack, or Laura's Blog.