Hi everyone! A while back, I wrote a post for the Kinder Tribe about what data tracking looks like in my classroom, which you can read HERE. My previous post looked at ways that you can track data as a whole class. I focused on how you could maintain each students self esteem, while at the same time striving for shared goals.
Today, I want to talk to you about setting and tracking goals with individual students, and how we can celebrate those accomplishments when they meet their goals.
As teachers, we spend many hours pouring over data points, trying to find ways to increase scores and adapt our teaching to meet the needs of all students. While all of this is good and necessary, we are never truly going to see the results we wish for, if we do not involve the students in our plans.
I found an article from Mind Shift, that I strongly recommend everyone reads concerning the creation of a growth mindset within our students. You can find the article HERE. What I love most about this article, is the emphasis that we all have a different starting point. It's not a competition between students, but rather instilling in each individual student in our care the belief that they are capable, and that progress is achievable one step at a time. Mind Shift writes. "The most powerful determinants of student growth are the mindsets and learning strategies that students themselves bring to their work—how much they care about working hard and learning, how convinced they are that hard work leads to growth, and how capably they have built strategies to focus, organize, remember, and navigate challenges."
It is our job as educators to instill that growth mindset within our students. We must first inform them of their starting point, and then guide them to make realistic and achievable goals.
I know that a lot of people would say that this is overkill in Kindergarten, but these routines and mindsets are imperative to start right from the beginning. Never underestimate your power as a kindergarten teacher in instilling a love of learning! I preach to my parents about the importance of setting up homework routines, nightly reading time, and regular sleep habits often. Creating a growth mindset within a child is no different. It must start at the very beginning, and be encouraged all throughout their school career.
To assist students in keeping track of their goals, I have created some simple tracking worksheets for you to use with them.
Students need to know what is expected of them, and thrive on the positive reinforcement they get when they reach their goal.
Even the students who start out in the lowest percentile will see improvement throughout the course of the year. I love these individual tracking sheets, because it has nothing to do with a student's rank in the class, and everything to do with growth.
I created this as a freebie for my TPT shop, and you can click HERE to get it, or click on any of the pictures above.
After the students reach their goal, it is important to not only praise them, but get them started on their next goal right away! Praise can come in all forms, and you know what motivates your students the most. Stickers, candy, lunch with the teacher, prize box, the list goes on and on. One thing I like to do in my classrooms is to give out brag tags. The students collect them on a chain each time they pass a new goal.
These brag tags in particular are made for Kindergarten and cover both our academic goals, and our social and fine motor ones as well.