The start of a new year is a popular time to pause, reflect, and take stock of what you’d like to accomplish during the year to come. For many people, this happens during the first week of January or the first few weeks of school. Helping students appreciate the power of goal setting can happen any time of year.
In this blog post, I’ve outlined a few strategies you can use to have students capture their goals for the year. Many of you know I’m a big fan of the Adobe Spark tools since they are free and simple for students of all ages to use. You can tailor the activity ideas below to different grade levels and apply goal setting to a range of subject areas too.
Goal Setting Activity
There are a few ways to start getting students thinking about the goals they have for this calendar year, school year, or any chunk of time. You can provide time for students to first reflect on their accomplishments. They can start by making a list or talking with a partner about some big or small things they are proud to have accomplished so far this school year. You might create a list to model for students or provide a few examples for them to get started.
Then, students can identify a goal they’d like to achieve this year. Often when leading professional development for teachers I ask participants to set goals in this format: This week…, This month…, This year… You might also want to provide a clear format for students to follow in their own goal setting videos. A week/month/year format or something that requires students to think about the steps they’ll take to accomplish their goals can help them think through how they’ll reach their goals.
Leveraging One Word
A popular way of setting an intention for the year is to focus on one word. For example, last year I tried to focus on the word balance, and this year my one word is deeper. If you are looking at goal setting through a lens outside of a particular content area, this is a great strategy to promote skills for lifelong learners.
You can model this type of goal setting for students by focusing in on your own one word and a corresponding action item. My 2019 one word is deeper because I would like a few things in my life to have a deeper practice. In the video and paragraph below, you can see how I’ve committed to three things I would like to do deeper and connected it to an action item that is measurable.
First, I’d like to write longer blog posts that dive deeper into a topic as opposed to some of the shorter pieces I’ve written in the past. My action item is to reach 800+ words per post. Second, I’d like to create more videos and make sure they are available on all platforms. My action item is to record and publish two videos a week. And lastly, I’d like to make a deeper commitment to my personal fitness this year. My action item is to attend a class or have a workout session at least four times a week.
Creating Spark Videos
In the screenshots below I share a process for creating a Spark Video to capture a goal. You can see the link to my final video here. Students can sign on to Spark Video on a Chromebook, web browser or iOS app. When they begin their project, they can use a template, or start from scratch as I have.
Icons to Represent Goals
After adding a title, encourage students to think of symbols that go along with their goals. In the screenshot below, you can see that I added a symbol to represent my intention to write deeper this year. Spark Video lets you search for icons from The Noun Project and automatically adds citations at the end of the video.
Music Connected to Goals
Spark Video also gives users access to a library of music. Students can choose music that is uplifting or inspiring. They can also upload their own music if they have created music with another tool like Soundtrap or Garageband.
Themes to Communicate Goals
The different themes in Spark Video can connect to student goal setting as well. You might want to have a conversation with students on how colors relate to their topic. If your school has set up Spark for Education (also free) students can create custom themes around their brand.
As you set goals with students this year and help them share these goals in video format, encourage students to provide feedback to one another. You might ask students to plan first in a Google Doc to make sure their goals are specific and actionable. I can’t wait to see what you and your students create with Spark Video this year!
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