Jan 09

Goals for the New Year

Posted by Valentine Burr in Fair Is Not Equal on Jan 09, 2013

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a chance to rest and rejuvenate over the holiday break. We took some time ourselves to step back from blogging, but have returned and look forward to continuing to develop and strengthen this blog as a resource for you in the year ahead.

We thought we’d start the year off with a reminder about what our focus is: supporting the social, emotional and behavioral growth of children and adolescents in the context of the classroom environment. We’re also extending an invitation for you to join the conversation. We encourage you to write in with your stories, questions and responses. Some of these have turned into guest posts and we have several more in the works. You can reach us through the comments section, Twitter, as well as through email.

Given the current realities of our blog tool, the best way to stay connected to us is to follow us on Twitter, where you will get alerts of new posts. For those of you not on Twitter, we encourage you to bookmark the blog. We’ll aim to post about once a week.

We’ll leave you with some thoughts for your classrooms and students…

January is a great time for reflection and setting goals. If you can, take some time out of your schedules to have students collectively and/or individually think, draw, act out or write about successes and growth that they have experienced individually and as a community. For students who experience regular social and behavioral struggles, it’s essential that they also have time to think about even small steps forward. In this reflection keep the focus on students’ sense of their own agency: “In what way did choices I made, actions I took, things I thought, help me and/or our community?”

After some reflection on successes, have students think about goals for their own social and emotional growth. The trick here is to keep these goals authentic and doable. Steer away from “teacher pleaser” goals; kids often know what we think they should be working on. These goals are often ones that satisfy the assignment and parrot adult language, but don’t hold much authentic weight for kids. For example: “My goal is to be more respectful when I get mad.” They may sound and look good, but they likely won’t do much good.

Instead, help kids to think about goals that have personal meaning and built in strategies. The best goals are ones that are rooted in some prior successes. For example, “My goal is to ask to take a break when I need one.” Finally, goal setting is only truly useful if the goals have some ongoing life in the classroom. Too many times goals get pasted on paper balloons and stuck on a wall to gather dust. If you do engage in goal setting with kids, return to those goals, celebrate successes, talk strategies, and teach kids how they can help each other. In that way you continue to support the value and meaning of their work.

Our goal this year is to continue to create a community with you!

Write in and let us know about your goals and needs in the upcoming year.

tagged community, goals, new year, reflection
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