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Keep Students Motivated with This Goal-Setting Activity

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on May 3, 2014 6:00:00 AM

goal setting activityWhen I was a student, often the last week of school was spent watching videos and goofing around. My peers and I loved every minute of it, but looking back, it’s easy to see that this was not a productive use of our time.

To keep students motivated and self-reflective, I like to have them complete goal-setting worksheets throughout the year—but you can certainly implement them at any point in the semester, even if you only have a few weeks left of school.

This activity comes from Larry Ferlazzo, but over the years, I’ve made a few tweaks to the original lesson. Here’s what I do:

Start by having students read an excerpt from Michael Jordan’s book, I Can’t Accept Not Trying. After students finish reading, ask them to pair up with another student and write a one-sentence summary of the information.

Next, students get together with another pair of students to compare their summaries and work together to develop the best one-sentence thesis/summary they possibly can. Once groups finish, I like to have each group write their sentence on the white board. Then, as a class, we review the strengths and weaknesses of each summary and work together as a class to create the most accurate and concise one-sentence summary that we can.

Following this, each student completes this goal-setting worksheet. If this worksheet doesn’t work for you, Worksheet Place has a nice collection of alternatives. 

After completing the worksheet, give students the opportunity to share their goals with their partner. Following this, I collect the worksheets, make copies and return their sheets to them the following day. Until the end of the year, we will review student progress each week.

Photo credit: Ulf Bodin / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Tags: student leadership, Success, intrinsic motivation, student independence, student engagement, student evaluation, goal setting

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