The Teacher’s Lunchbox: Cooking Up Goals

Cooking Up Goals

The year 2015 is well underway. How will you help your students set — and realize — achievable goals? By setting goals and measuring their achievements, students are able to see what they have accomplished and what they are capable of. Seeing the positive results of reaching their goals can give your students the confidence they need to believe they can achieve even higher goals. Even though we tend to set goals at the beginning of each New Year, goal-setting should be an ongoing process, and you can help your students start it now if you haven’t already.

As educators, many of you might want to focus on academic goals. While those types of goals are meaningful to teachers and hopefully for many students, not all students are motivated by goals of academic enhancement. My best advice is to individualize goal setting for each student by following your student’s lead. Help each student choose goals that will make their life meaningful. Goal setting can focus on many aspects of a child’s life: education, family, friends, athletics, personality and attitude, public service, arts, and — of course — pleasure.

Some of the basics of goal setting include:

  • expressing goals positively
  • being accurate
  • setting priorities
  • keeping goals small
  • setting goals students have control over

One popular technique child specialists have suggested in helping children set their goals is to remember the useful acronym SMART.


Here are some creative activities to help children cook up achievable personal goals.

1- Fill Up a Bucket with “Dreams”

Begin by having your students design their own buckets. Have plenty of magazines and other visual resources, such as stickers. Fill your bucket up by writing dreams down on slips of paper. This can be done over a week or continuously throughout the school year.

2- All Kinds of Dreams, All Kinds of Buckets

You can have students create multiple buckets, such as “My Summer Vacation Bucket” or “My School Bucket.”

3- List Goals — Be Creative!

There are so many fun ways to list goals. Let your students find a way that’s meaningful for them. Here are some ideas.

4- Transform Dreams into Goals

Use the SMART technique to develop goals out of those dreams. Over the week (or throughout the school year), have your students take out a “dream” and rewrite it as a goal. Remember: Big dreams often need to be broken down into smaller goals.

5- Track Goals

Present creative, fun ways to track your student’s progress. Make a board game. A good way is to relate goal tracking to sports.

6- Take Pride in Reaching Goals

For many, just reaching the goal is reward itself. But, you can add to a student’s sense of pride by celebrating steps, no matter how small, toward goal attainment. Every month, celebrate with fun activities such as “theme” parties to acknowledge the progress of all students!

I hope 2015 is a very happy year for you, and thank you for reading my blog. What are your goals? Can you use some of my ideas to make your dreams a reality? Let me know in the comments below!

By Dr. Phyllis Ohr

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