Part of becoming a powerful thinker is reflecting on your progress. Pairing this reflection process with goal setting and action plans helps students gain confidence in their ability to see and follow a path to what they want to achieve.
You can use Wixie to help students reflect on achievements this year and set goals for next year. Because student work in Wixie resides in the cloud and students are using it over and over, it makes a great place to create and store both reflections and goals.
Use the 2016 Round Up activity (Activities>Month-by-Month>December) to highlight student growth this calendar year. This gives them an opportunity to reflect and identify what they did well, what they enjoyed, and how they grew.
As you begin the reflection and goal setting process with students, focus on celebrating what they accomplished. For example, they likely entered a new grade, outgrew their clothes, went new places, and have new likes and interests.
*If students created an end-of-the-year summary activity last year, have them revisit this Wixie project to see how they have grown and changed. If they have used Wixie in previous years, their work is stored in a folder with their previous grade level(s) in their Projects view.
Have students print and/or share their year-end Round Up with a classmate. Combine their work into one project and share at the front of the room during a calendar year end celebration.
From Celebration to Reflection
The Round Up activity is designed mainly as a celebration, but students can use it to begin the "What did I do?" foundation of Peter Pappas's Taxonomy of Reflection.
To move beyond remembering, ask students to take stock of their learning and identify specific new knowledge learned, actions taken, and skills acquired and improved. Use your own questions to prompt them to think about patterns, application, and quality, or use the questions on the taxonomy image above.
At the very top of the taxonomy is "What should I do next?" This is great place to start goal setting.
Teaching students how to set goals, leads them to believe in themselves (confidence) and their own power to take actions that influence their lives (agency). This is essential if we want to create student-centered classrooms where students are equal partners in the responsiblity for learning.
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It isn't enough to simply write a list of goals. In order for students to be able to take pride in their effort and accomplishments, we need to teach students how to set goals they can attain and that reaching goals requires action.
Wixie includes activities, like Reach Your Goal, that include places for students to write specific steps they can take to make progress on reaching their goals.
Part of reaching goals is also knowing how to set them. Teach your students how to write SMART goals, that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely
To write a Specific goal, have students clarify who, what, when, and where. Have a discussion about using words that are specific vs. those that are ambiguous, or subject to interpretation.
To write a Measurable goal, ask students how they will know when they have reached their goal or if they are making progress toward their goal. Have a discussion about quantitative vs. qualitative measurement.
To write an Attainable goal, ask students if their goal is something they can achieve. While "going to college" is a worthy goal, achievement of that goal may be a long way in the future. Talk about attainable goals they can reach in shorter periods of time that will impact their ability to achieve these large goals later in life.
To write a Relevant goal, ask students to be able to defend their goals as worthwhile and why.
To write a Timely goal, ask students to give themselves a deadline and articulate when they want to acheive their goal. Talk about how goals can look different depending on whether they are to be achieved by the end of the school year or calendar year.
A New Year's resolution, something one hopes to accomplish within a year, is a long period of time relative to the life of an elementary student. To increase motivation in the short term, focus on goals that are actionable during the rest of the current school year.
Once students have written their goals in Wixie, be sure to revisit them periodically with your students. Students will see this file in their Projects view each time they log in, but have them open the file to read it again and reflect on their effort and progress.
No matter exactly how you choose to do it, celebrating progress and setting new goals helps students gain confidence in their ability to take action and pride in their efforts.