The new year is coming and the old year will be just a memory (yes, please). This is the time of year when most people in the universe are planning some sort of New Year’s Resolutions and goals for the new year. This happens in the classroom as well.
Each semester I plan some goal setting activities in the classroom. Most students will choose to work on their grades, or turn in work on time. Some set goals to be a better athlete, join clubs and do volunteer work. Until this year I would post those goals on the bulletin board (including my goals) so we would have a visual reminder.
Letter to a Future Self
Students also completed a letter to themselves which I collect and give back to them at the end of the semester. it is a great reminder of that goal they had. It also reminds them how much they have accomplished. And if they did not accomplish the goal, then they can reflect to see what happened.
First semester of this school year, the goal setting was completed digitally since we have been virtual since March 2020. For my seniors this was an introduction for their Career Project. Looking forward to what they will do after high school can be a powerful tool.
The resource below has access to several of the worksheets in google slides as well as being available to print. This is a free resource at my TPT store to help your students start off the year.
2020 has been difficult for most students, whether they were learning virtually or in a classroom. This is especially a time when we need to encourage students to look forward to the future with hope and anticipation. Goal setting gives everyone an opportunity to think about all their good qualities and if there is an area for improvement to look at small steps toward change.
Another option for setting goals is for students to make a vision board. Posterboard versions make a great bulletin board but this is a great option for virtual classrooms as well since it lends itself to making collages.
What is a Vision Board?
A vision board is a planning tool that allows students to unleash their creativity and daydream in a tangible format. By collecting images that represent their biggest goals and keeping them within sight, they will be able to focus on reaching them. Once created, they can take a picture of it to view and keep those goals in sight.
Not only that, but vision boards can serve to keep you inspired when boredom strikes (as it inevitably will), and remind students why they are working so hard when they would rather be doing something else.
How to Make a Vision Board
Creating a vision board is easy—and fun! You can use a piece of poster paper and have students bring photos and print images they find online.
Then pull out the markers and let them add words to inspire. When I did this in the classroom, I provided printed cut-outs that students could color and decorate their boards with. Here are some of the printed sheets I used:
If you are interested, you can download them here.
Or create the vision board digitally using one of many online apps. There are several apps available but I prefer to use google slides. It is free, everyone has access to it and students can share if they like.
To create your board, start by collecting images that represent the goals and dreams for the school year. Photos from a favorite family vacation, ads for an expensive dress you want to buy, a playbill for a Broadway show you want to see, or even a dollar figure representing your desired bank account balance are all good ways to visualize your goals.
My Example Board
I created a digital vision board as an example for my students. For the past several years, I have been choosing a word to represent my focus for the year. This year my word was “INTENTIONAL”.
I had planned a trip to Italy for 2020, but that did not happen. That trip as well as other things have been added to my bucket list. For 2020 my word was consistent. For such a chaotic year, it is ironic to look back and see my word. One goal was to establish a scholarship fund for students and to get back to a walking regimen and I did accomplish both of those.
Student Created Boards
Students also created vision boards, a touching reminder of a year that has been so disruptive. Cheerleading practice that has not happened. A prom that may not happen, a graduation ceremony that be different. This student liked choosing the one-word as a focus and choose “Persevere”.
While the first student was looking at what she was missing, the second student didn’t look at what he was missing. He was using his time to work on being a music star on social media.
This activity could take several days to complete in class and I give very loose directions. Or, because we were virtual, the students got the directions and had one week to finish and turn in. I used one of the goal setting worksheets and ask students to think about the coming semester or year and represent this in a google slide. The slides are set to 14 x 6 inches.
Students used free pictures either from Google, Unsplash or Pixabay for their boards. Online font generators such as lingojam create sayings or words and can be copied and pasted.
I asked students to share their boards with me so I could get to know their goals and dreams. And because we were virtual, I asked students for permission to share in a google slide presentation so their classmates could also get to know everyone.
Most students enjoyed the vision board process because it was a creative expression,(And a break from doing math). I enjoyed knowing more about them, and by sharing my own goals and vision board, students got to know me as well.
Do you use goal setting in your class? And if you are virtual how has that process adapted to the digital world?