Setting goals

What’s on your bucket list? That’s one of the questions posed to students in 21st Century Skills last week. Skydiving? Learning a new language? Writing a novel? Maybe you are like me and you have a list of far (and not so far) away places that you’d like to visit. I’ve had a great time looking through the Padlets created by students illustrating some of the things that they would like to experience and accomplish in their lives. Check out a few examples:

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Setting goals for yourself is an important skill and this week, we will take the dreams students expressed in their bucket lists and try to turn them into SMART goals. As students explore the acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely), they will craft both long and short term goals for their academic, personal and professional lives, creating action steps and benchmarks to help measure progress towards these goals. Most years, this lesson falls at the same time in which I’m coming up with my formal teaching and learning goals for the year and I enjoy sharing them with my students as an authentic example.

Giving students authentic opportunities to practice the 21st century skills that we have identified is one of my main goals for this class. Currently, students are working in groups in order to plan a possible field trip for the entire sophomore class. This task is challenging and requires critical thinking, productivity, collaboration and problem-solving skills, just to name just a few. Each group (in all four 21st Century Skills classes) was assigned an academic department and is in the process of putting together a field trip proposal connected to the 10th grade curriculum in that academic area. Students began by constructing a survey to give to teachers in order to gather ideas and hope to have a draft of their proposals completed by Friday. Only one proposal will be chosen by a panel of teachers and administrators and be offered to all sophomores. There are many exciting ideas being explored and I can’t wait to see the details!

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