As a teacher, I practiced goal setting often. I would set short term planning goals based on curriculum, daily 'what needs to be graded goals', and long term goals for overall achievement and mastery of subjects. I have always been a 'list maker' and the only thing hard about 'goal setting' for me what deciding what was an attainable goal.
One of the goals I mentioned previously for my regular ed students was a yearly goal I used for my evaluations. I desired to use vocabulary scaffolding to increase the students' self efficacy for the subject matter. In less fancy terms, I employed the 'word of the day' strategy as a way to build their vocabulary for understanding their text books, give them extra credit, and in general boost their how confident the students were in their own success. Self efficacy is really 'do you think you can do it?' in simple terms, and therefore, I tried to make the subject matter more understandable by taking away the vocabulary barrier.
I have previously mentioned that I had set two preliminary goals for kindergarten: 1. enjoyment of school. 2. Increased self efficacy. I did not & do not have an expectation for when my son learns to read, how perfect his hand writing becomes, or how much math he will learn in kindergarten. I have absolutely no clue what an age appropriate standard for science or history would be. I had hoped these goals would be a part of the teacher's short term & long term goals as well, but I am not as confident after this first quarter if I am correct.
Which brings me to my next juncture: How can I help meet these goals I see as valuable?
Ok, for goal #1: enjoyment of school. I have tried to remind him of his favorite activities as they come up, because honestly, those really help him look forward to school! His favorite activity each week is library (so wonderful), but he really seems to like all his extra-curricular activities each day. He's been excited about some different things, being the leader of the day, the school's 'fun run' activity, and picture day. Basically reminding him about things to look forward to, even though school was 'long' in his estimations. Another strategy I have used was chocolate milk. Hilariously, I didn't think of it until visiting him at lunch one day & noticing that he didn't bring his water bottle. So he was having his lunch with no drink at all. I considered what I could send in, but getting a cold chocolate milk for $.50 was like a treat for him, everyday!! I gladly embraced the small token that he would get chocolate milk, which we don't drink at home, everyday when he goes to school. It's the little things.
Goal #2: increased self efficacy. Does he think he can succeed, and how can I help me feel more confident that he will? My main issue for this stemmed from his lack of understanding of the rules & systems at the beginning of the year. It was like on the job training almost where he kept messing up because he didn't know what to do, and then he became discouraged. I tried to combat that issue by helping him remember that everybody makes mistakes, and that he would know better for the next time what to do. Over the weeks, this strategy worked, but mostly because he did not give up! His work that is sent home was difficult to evaluate, but as he has started having homework, I have been able to guide him through some trouble spots that I saw reported back from his daily work. I am actually glad for the chance to sit with him while he's working, so that I can maybe help correct some continuous errors he teacher is marking. It is such a joy to see him improve in a small way from some of my feedback! I hope that helps him build more confidence to know he CAN do it, and he just needs to keep practicing.
Feel free to add some comments of how you have been able to help your child enjoy school or how you may have helped them feel more confident that they can succeed!! I would love to hear from some veteran mommas & daddies. Thanks!