Setting goals for the year ahead in your classroom

Welcome to 2022! The new year is a blank slate. So what better way to kick it off than having your students set goals. Instead of typical New Year’s Resolutions — like eating more veggies or getting to the next level in a video game — now’s the time for your students to dig deep and reflect on what they truly want to accomplish. It’s the time for stepping out of their comfort zones and establishing habits that lead to success.

Along can help you encourage your students to set goals that are both inspiring and achievable. We’ve even curated a collection called Share Goals and Aspirations — a selection of resources that will guide you and your class through smart goal-setting. Like the Along Content Library as a whole, the three pillars of this collection are reflection questions, classroom activities and educator practices. Together, they establish a solid foundation for reflecting on and reaching milestones.

Think Big. Dream Big.

A big picture goal can sometimes be intimidating, but it’s also a way to keep students motivated and focused. Reflection questions can be used to encourage students to think big and to explore their dreams. From there, it’s easier for students to break down smaller steps for the year ahead — always keeping the ultimate goal in mind.

Here are a couple reflection questions to get students thinking about goals in a new way:

What is a big goal you want to achieve by the end of this year?

What is a long-term goal you are working towards, or would like to be working towards?

Keep in mind, these questions are designed to prompt discussions, not to create panic. While some of your students will have specific milestones in mind, others might not. And that’s okay! Along starts the conversation and gets students thinking about what’s possible. If a student wants to explore their aspirations even further, feel free to suggest other sources of reflection, like journaling or vision boards.

Set SMART goals.

Our Share Goals and Aspirations Collection also has educator exercises that help teachers bring their best selves to the classroom. It all comes down to making goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.) Set SMART Goals is a helpful resource for educators advising students on how to set achievable goals. By studying the subject, educators can better guide students through the goal-setting process — prompting students with helpful questions when necessary and encouraging them to move forward.

Learning from Past Mistakes.

In the midst of goal-setting, it’s important to remind students that no one is perfect and mistakes along the way are completely normal. Along provides a safe environment for students and teachers alike to open up about ways that they’ve stumbled in the past and overcome challenges. We even have a classroom activity called Facilitate Learning from Mistakes and Failures that’s designed to normalize missteps. You’ll be able to bond with your students over the knowledge that mistakes are a pivotal part of the journey. A step backwards is never the end of the story.

Ready. Set. Goal.

Set a goal for yourself in the new year to explore the Share Goals and Aspirations Collection and find more goal-setting questions, activities and practices. As you browse these resources, you’re sure to discover some that speak to you and that feel particularly suited for your class. When you share your goal with your students, they can support you and each other. Consider making the goal visible by writing it on the board or posting it on a wall in your classroom.

We’re excited for your students to embark on 2022 equipped with goals and strategies that will help them thrive. Happy goal-setting!