Goal setting is a planning process for empowering and motivating students to take control of their progress and work toward something in which they are invested. Students need to choose their own goals. We might guide them in the process; however, if they are to be motivated to work toward their goals, they have to feel ownership.
Long-term goals are good for the big picture; however, they seldom seem to keep students motivated on a day-to-day basis. Short-term goals that work toward the long-term goal seem to keep students on task and allow them to see the milestones as they are accomplished.
Encourage students to commit to realistic and reachable short-term goals. If students are unrealistic, they will fail to reach their goal and thus defeat the process of goal setting. It is important for students to meet their goals to feel successful and not repeat a cycle of failure.
Build a form, like the one shown here, to help your students define, plan, and reach their goals.
Excerpted from Special Needs in the General Classroom, 500+ Teaching Strategies for Differentiating Instruction
For more information on differentiation strategies to reach ALL learners, see
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Differentiation Strategies to Reach ALL Learners in the Inclusive Classroom