Yes, I was always one of those teachers who had a morning work routine ready to go each day. Perhaps it was spelling practice, a skills review, or maybe even a writing prompt. I was that teacher. I don’t judge anyone who chooses morning work, just as I hope you won’t judge me for my more unconventional plan. You see, growth means sometimes reevaluating what you do, and keeping what works, while letting go of what you might be able to do better. Each year is a restart button, and I personally love taking advantage of that!
So let’s talk GOAL work! In knowing that my students can arrive anytime between 7:10 and 7:40 each day, I realize there is a large disparity in how much time students will have to work prior to our morning meeting.
I simply don’t feel comfortable holding a student who arrives at 7:40 to the same work standard as the student who was in my room at 7:10. This allows me to make some changes I think will help in a variety of ways.
Goal work will start with each student completing the linked sheet. Students will need to choose one ELA or Math goal each week. They will need to write in complete sentences what their goal is, and why they are working toward that. They will make a list of possible resources we have in our room to work with, and each morning and during down time, they will work toward these short term goals.
On Friday each student will need to assess whether they met their goal or they need more time. If they met the goal, they can decide on a new goal, and if they need more time they can address how they will use that time best to make sure the goal is met in the next week. They will write one success and one challenge they had, and then they need a mini conference with me. We will both sign, and agree on the path of the week to come, while also celebrating the successes!
So let’s consider how this fits into differentiation.
1. Students are all choosing a goal just for them. There is no comparing themselves to peers AT ALL!
2. Differentiation BABY! While one student might set a goal to read a small chapter book in a week, another could be setting a goal to skip count by 3’s fluently. Those students who are strong readers and math stars can be setting lofty goals to push themselves more. Those who need remediation in skills can be setting goals that help to catch them up.
3. While I must move on to new units regardless of 100% of students mastering the content, goal work can help over time to get those who aren’t there quite yet, caught up.
Now, let me just say I am well aware this will take a few weeks … or more… to truly be impactful. Goal setting for 8 year olds won’t be easy, but learning shouldn’t be easy, it should challenge us! Now for accountability each week we will upload these goal sheets into Seesaw! This will show our families what we are working toward as well.
I am also certain this is going to take more work in the beginning than a traditional morning work plan would. I truly believe that if you are doing something that makes a difference, you are going to have to put in a little more work. SIMPLE.AS.THAT!
So keep an eye on how our GOAL work takes shape next month when my #JVand3rd kiddos get busy!