Aim Higher: The Rest of the Story

Aim Higher Blog Series

Earlier in the week Anna talked about making goals visible. This is so true. When we make goals visible for students they are able to go back to that visual multiple times and the goal or objective we are aiming for becomes more attainable.

With young writers, goals always have to be visible. Young students are so visual to begin with, they need everything modeled and displayed for them to really take it in and make magic with it. I find that when I talk with my class about goal setting, each time it is like the first time. Five and six year old children don’t tend to remember what a goal is until you’ve talked about it around a hundred times! That being said, we came up with good ideas that helped define a goal for our class.

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After re-establishing what a goal was with my kindergarten students we began to talk about what we had been working on and what was going really well. We decided that most of us were telling really good stories, that we knew how to draw pictures and that we were trying to write one really good sentence about our story. Now, some are doing far more than this and some are not quite to this goal yet. This is where things get tricky. But I wanted to set a goal for the whole class to attempt. So we set out to find what would work for everyone. We decided that writing at least a two part story was appropriate and that the second part to that story should be a detail of some kind. We then worked together to come up with a chart to show our ideas. In science we had recently finished a unit on the five senses, so sensory details took center stage.

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From this chart I developed a small chart that students could have right next to them while working, as a reminder that we were really reaching for a new goal of two parts to our story.

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This is an example of a group goal decision. We, as a class, decided what we needed to all work to achieve at this point in the year. Individual goals can be determined in very similar ways, but with one student at a time. I did this with one student in particular who was writing well beyond a two part story, but could still benefit from this goal as well.

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This student was writing great details but could begin to add a feeling, which later I will be able to explain that she is experimenting with endings when using this technique. Right now I just want her adding a new detail to her story, but endings will definitely be a next step for her.

I hope you will create some new visuals to illustrate goal setting for your students and come up with classroom goals as well as individual goals with all your learners.

Please join us on Monday evening, February 2nd when we host a Twitter Chat about aiming higher with our students.  The chat will begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Just search and tag #TWTBlog to participate.

Aim Higher Twitter Chat -- Two Writing Teachers