Thursday, November 12, 2015

Goals Unit

With my Reading/Writing Essentials students, I needed high-interest personalized content in order to keep them engaged, so I started the year with a unit that was all about setting and achieving goals.  We started by reading an article about why setting goals is a worthy endeavor: 6 Important Reasons Why You Should Set Goals.
Students were asked to annotate using reading skills that we had been working on in class and to complete a worksheet considering WHY they should set goals based off this article.

Next, students were taught HOW to set goals.  They read and annotated Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

 Next, students were asked to complete a goal setting worksheet.  They began by brainstorming goals in different areas of their lives after learning about different types of goals:
Next, they chose from this brainstormed list four goals to fully develop and completed a goal-setting worksheet focused around those four goals.  They were asked to write out their goals, set target dates for completion of each goal, list three things they would do to achieve their goal and to list two things that would help them to achieve their goal.

Next, on a private blog that I created for this class, students practiced their writing skills by blogging about the goals they were planning to focus on for the first semester and interacted/supported one another through this forum.

It was time to start to achieve these goals.  We watched and "annotated" a Ted Talk about using 30 Day Challenges in order to reach personal goals. 
Here's a link:

You can guess what came next: students set their own 30 Day Challenge to get them close to their goals and they blogged about it.
Then, for 30 days, they completed their challenge.  We kept a poster up in the front of the classroom where students used sparkly stars to track their progress.  As they walked into class each day and I greeted them, I would also ask if they had completed their challenge and remind them to track it on the poster.
Students blogged again, this time about how the small steps they were taking were impacting large change for them in their lives.  They supported each other and practiced safe/healthy online relationships.

As students worked on their challenges, we continued to inform ourselves.  Students learned about reputable/credible sources and located one that was pertinent to their goal work.  They read and annotated their source.  They blogged about it and how it was impacting the goal work they were doing.  They applied the research directly to their lives.
About 3/4 of the way through most of my students had experienced some failure with their goal work.  They had "fallen down" (not literally in all of their cases) and needed some motivation to keep going.  They reflected and blogged again, this time about the famous quote above from Thomas Edison and their own progress to date.

As we continued to work, we learned more strategies for accomplishing goals.  The students read, annotated and blogged about the power of asking questions, rather than uttering statements, in the achievement of goals and applied this to their goal work.  The article was called Will We Succeed?  The Science of Self Motivation.  They blogged about this and continued to support each other via this online forum.

Link to asking questions article:

Finally, students learned about the power of affirmations and the importance of positive "self-talk" by reading another short article from Psychology Today: 5 Steps to Make Affirmations Work for You: Learn How to Make Affirmations Work for You.  Again, students read, annotated, and blogged about this article and the applications it had for their personal goal work.

Link to affirmations article:

The end was near.  Celebrations of success were in order.  Classes that achieved over 80% success rate were rewarded with a day "off" and food and students were asked to reflect on their personal performance/growth and present about their experience to the class.  The final assignment for this unit was an infographic focused on reflection over the unit as a whole. 
Finally, students presented their infographics and prepared to move forward with the content.  Next?: Career/College Exploration

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