Scholars look at a picture of the Finnish synchronized skating team and a picture of a toddler on ice skates. I ask them to describe an annual (year-long) goal that the team set. Then, I ask them to determine what annual or year-long goal the little boy should set. Should the goals be the same? Different? Why? Scholars cite evidence from the photos to support their response.
I have students Think, Pair, Share. I ask them to do this so that they have an opportunity to independently collect their thoughts, share with a friend (and hear a possible correct answer/different thinking).
Finally, we have a very short discussion about how it would not be reasonable for the little boy to win a championship in one year. That might be a long-term goal, but not a short-term goal. I liken this to the classroom. You may want to be a professional basketball player when you grow up, that may be a goal, but that is not a reasonable goal for the 2013-2014 school-year. You haven't even finished growing yet! I make sure to deliver this message in a humorous, but delicate way. I help students to see that they can still dream and set 10 year goals, but a more reasonable goal for this year might be to be the leading scorer on your basketball team.
I ask the question, "What is the goal in basketball?" I cuff my ear with my hand so that all scholars know that they can call out. They say, "to get a basket!" I say, "okay, today we're going to practice attaining goals in basketball. When you attain something, you get it. Clap out the word attain." Scholars clap out the syllables: "/u/ - /tain/", "Snap out the word attain. Scholars: /u/ - /tain/. Pat out the word attain. Scholars: /u/ - /tain/, What's the word? Scholars: attain!" I then have them turn and tell their friend that attain means to get something. When I say to get something, I act-out reaching out and grabbing something. Scholars do the same when they turn and tell their friends the meaning of the word attain. This is a procedure that I use when I teach new and challenging words to scholars. It helps them to pronounce the word correctly and annunciate each syllable.
"Okay, today we're going to attain this goal in basketball." I toss our classroom Kush ball (can use any ball). I pull out our empty trash can. "This is our basket. Our goal is to stand on this line (pre-duct taped) and get the Kush ball in the basket." I place the basket about 4 inches from the line. I take any volunteers who want to try to attain the goal. I do a 1, 2, 3, 4 transition to streamline the transition. All students make the basket who try.
I ask them to turn and tell their friend how that felt to them. I count down 10 seconds. Then, I cuff my hand to my ear and say, "how did that feel?" Most reply, "easy!", or something to that effect. I then tell them that it was easy. Our goal was too attainable. They clap out, tap out and snap out attainable and act out the definition again. They turn and use the word attainable in a sentence to their friend (i.e. That goal was too attainable).
Then, I say, "okay, okay, I hear you, that goal was TOO attainable. Let's change it." I then move the empty trashcan all the way to the back of the room. I say, "let's try this." Again, I take all volunteers who want to attain the goal. I do a 1, 2, 3, 4 transition to streamline movement. Then, scholars try to make the basket. No one has ever made the basket from this distance.
I ask them to turn and tell their friend how that felt to them. I count down 10 seconds. Then, I cuff my hand to my ear and say, "how did that feel?" Most reply, "hard, fun!", or something to that effect. I then tell them that it was difficult. Our goal was too ambitious. They clap out, tap out and snap out ambitious and act out the definition again (I reach up with my hand). They turn and use the word ambitious in a sentence to their friend (i.e. That goal was too ambitious, we had to reach too far to attain it.)
Finally, students take notes in their team notebooks. They define what a goal is and list that goals must be ambitious and attainable.
Now, I show them the percent of scholars who were at or above grade level according to the state standardized test. I ask them to think of a goal that would be ambitious (a reach) and attainable (able to accomplish in 1 year). I model a think aloud, "100% at or above grade level would be too ambitious, someone might have a bad day, someone might be sick, etc. 10% would be too attainable because our percentage is higher than 10%."
We vote on the final percent. I then post this on our classroom Scoreboard!. We keep track of the percent at-or-above a 70% on each weekly quiz or test, so that we know if we are on track to accomplishing our goal.
Finally, I place the trashcan between the "too ambitious" placement and the "too attainable" placement. I say, "This goal is JUST RIGHT!" Then, scholars who want to can come and take a shot at attaining the ambitious and attainable goal.
I break scholars up into 3 separate groups (I do this randomly by selecting names from my cup). One group paints a picture frame puzzle piece in the back of the room at the horseshoe table to represent themselves as an individual, 1 group decorates puzzle picture frame with glitter at the back brown table to represent themselves as an individual, and the third group sets individual goals with me up front.
I explicitly model painting expectations (paint stays on table, 1 person changes water cups as needed, brushes stay on paper towels), glitter expectations (use only what you need, glitter stays on table, etc.) and clean up expectations (leave it better than you found it!). This helps to clarify expectations since I will work with group 3.
I tell students to pick up their puzzle piece and say, "this is my puzzle piece, this represents me as an individual!" I tell them to decorate it with colors and patters that represent them as a person. This is very important because we are all individuals. No two of us is alike. We bring different strengths and areas of growth to our classroom. Therefore we take great pride in who we are and celebrate our differences.
Each group has 7 minutes to be at each station and then has 2 minutes to clean up and then 1 minute to switch. While students are with me, we discuss where they currently are in reading and writing using data from diagnostics and end-of-the-year last year. Then, they set a goal for the year and record it on their goal setting sheet. They set their third goal with the math teacher. We then brainstorm different strategies that they can use to help get them to attain their goal (i.e. read for 20 minutes each night). Finally, each person in my group gets an individual photograph taken. This photograph will be placed in the puzzle piece frame and made into a class mural (to represent that we are all individuals and have individual goals, but we are also 1 big team!)
I print the pictures at home and then students glue photos into frame and we put our puzzles together. I explain that we are all individuals, with different strengths and areas to grow, but we all come together and form one big team. We set goals collectively and individually, and when we do so, we win big!