Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Setting Goals

Instead of having students come back to school last Monday, we worked with a man from RISC.  He is guiding our school into performance based education. My work wife and I sat close to each other, passing notes of how we wanted to apply what we were hearing to kindergarten.  Then the day was over and the kids came back.  I'm not sure about other teachers, but I will often sit through a day of PD, get inspired to do great things, and then get back to the classroom so swamped and overwhelmed by the daily operations, my flame of inspiration extinguishes. Thanks to Google Drive I was able to combat the dimming of my flame.

When I got home, I picked just one kindergarten Common Core standard, counting.  I made four charts titled with the following "I Can" statements:  I can count to 10, I can count to 20, I can count to 50, and I can count to 100.   As seen on the presenter's slide show, each chart had the child's name in a box under the "I Can" statement. 

Obviously counting to 100 is the end of year goal.  Counting to 10 is something all my kids can do.  I wanted to be sure all the kids were able to meet at least one goal to get them excited, and hungry for a taste of more.  As this was the start of 2015, we talked about resolutions and goals, and then I had the kids color in their names for each "I Can" chart they had already mastered.  Immediately, the kids wanted to color in their names at the next level.  There were no promises of treats, parties or rewards.  All they get for counting higher was the ability to color in their name by the correct "I Can" statement.  I told them I wanted to hear them count to me before school, during snack, whenever we had a few minutes so they could move on up. 

Now they are swarming me to count.  When a child stumbles, I take him right to the number grid, and we count together from where he got confused, noticing how he can overcome the stumbling block.  Most often, another child comes over to help her peer while I listen to a new student count.  

I'm hoping to keep their enthusiasm for counting burning while all kids progress to 100. We shall see how it goes.....

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