Sunday, August 29, 2010

Big Goals

Ok, ok. I know I haven't been blogging. Honestly, it is kind of hard to get on the blogging band wagon. I have all of these ideas bursting out of my seams from 8 to 5 and then I get home at 5:01 and then turn into a barnacle on my couch or I fall asleep. That being said, it is one of my big goals to blog at least 2 times a week. I feel very committed to this because I just worked my behind off for the past 3 days teaching my new 5th graders how to create big goals! If they are going to have big goals then I definitely will as well!

Many of you know that I am a part of Teach America. I went into Teach for America thinking I already knew a lot about education and was shockingly surprised how much more I learned. I could write an entire book about all of the good (and some bad) things about TFA. If this pretend book did exist then it for sure would begin with a chapter on big goals. If I could summarize TFA in one phrase I would say BIG GOALS. Big goals, big goals, big goals. You really can't say it enough. The one thing that Teach for America has drilled into my head is that you have to start with a big goal. Think of this as a big picture. What am I doing and why? What I love about this is that is is SO applicable for every person, not just teachers. In fact, I have just has many big goals in my personal life as I do in my career. Take a gander if you will:

Personal Life:
Big Goal #1 Run a half marathon in under 3 hours - Oct. 3rd (don't judge, I'm slow)
Big Goal #2 Learn to Surf - July 1
Big Goal #3 Hike half-dome - July 1
Big Goal #4 Blog two times a week - December 1

Career Life:
Big Goal #1: Class average of 80% on end-of-year exams - June 10th
Big Goal #2: Every student proficient or advanced on the CST - May 10th
Big Goal #3: Develop teacher community groups to share ideas - October 1st

Notice that each big goal was time sensitive. This is a characteristic of effective big goals. If you don't put a date on it, you never know if you have really achieved it. Every single goal you create must be time sensitive! The other characteristics are measurable, feasible, and meaningful. Once you have established your big picture, you begin backwards designing the way you are going to achieve it. Along the way, you design mastery quizzes for yourself to determine if you are on track. Now, the most important and CRUCIAL part of it all is that your quizzes or assessments have to be metric meaning, you are looking for a percentage or a score. I could go on and on explaining everything, but you are probably wondering why this is important to you. It's important to you because...


I have never been so inspired or motivated in my life then when my kids reached their big goal last year. It took a lot of sweat and tears to get there (did I mention tears?), but we did it! We actually reached our goal and scored 82% on the California standardized test last year. I was so moved by this success that I decided that I wanted to tell everyone I knew about how to create big goals and even more importantly, I wanted to design a series of lessons that taught my kids how to create their own individual goals. So not only are my kids working towards our class big goal, but they are also working to their individual needs and tracking their progress.

I just revealed my class big goals on Friday and wanted to share my lesson plan with you to try it. My new kiddos are already so pumped for this school year and I know it has everything to do with the big goal. Now we have something in our sights and we are going to achieve! Try it!

Pictures to come...