Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day Goal Setting

Wanted to start the year with a goal setting activity this year and the kids did just awesome. The product turned out cuter than expected, but the learning was just out of this world!

In the morning, I had students tune some fine-motor skills by tracing their hand and cutting out the hand with an extra long arm. This exercise gave me some good data on where I could focus my time with my English Language Learners, my students who need more practice with fine motor skills, and those who struggled to follow directions.

When we were ready to start the main activity, we put the arms away.  I began by asking the students what things they were really successful with as first graders. They had a fantastic list of things that we celebrated.

Then, I asked what they could think of that they would like to improve upon as 2nd graders. I loved their openness and willingness to be vulnerable to disclose so much. They were so expressive, which was a welcome surprise, considering it was only the first day of school. Here is a list of what they shared as goals:

Read each night
Listen to the teacher
Show respect
Do my homework every night
Be quiet when teacher is talking
Solve problems
Be nice to others
Be honest
Be a good friend
Do my work neatly

I had each student pick five goals they really wanted to focus on. The above list was typed onto a word processing document and projected onto the screen to aid in spelling. I distributed the arms they had made and asked each child to write one goal on each finger. Once that was finished, they could draw whatever they wanted on the arm. Wow… the creativity was awesome.

That evening, my amazing husband and daughters came in to help me tie up some loose ends. He covered the door in black and we arranged the title REACH FOR THE STARS on the top of the blank door.

The next morning, our entry task included some calculating with coloring (stars and moons).
Each student cut out 2 of their favorite stars they had colored. They brought their stars to me at the door and glued their star where they wanted it to be, then each child added the arm they had made.

It's so awesome that we have a beautifully decorated door that all of the students are proud of because it's their work and their goals.

Here's to a great start of the year.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and to follow each other for more rich experiences for our students.
Have a fantastic day!


  1. Thank you for sharing this easily adaptable to older kids. I am stealing and using to start off my year in 4th grade!

  2. This is so beautiful, I love it!


  3. Thank you for sharing this! I am going to do this with a year 5 next week and i am so exited :) Any tips for me?

  4. I love this. This is so creative!

  5. I love this. This is so creative!

  6. I am totally running with this for the first and second days of school. Our school has adopted the Growth Mindset philosophy and this really applies! Thanks a bunch!

  7. do you have a template for the hands that you wouldn't mind sharing?