Reflection on School Year Goals #3

At the beginning of the year, I set a number of goals for myself, one of which was to reflect on said goals every two months. My third set of reflections are in italics below.


I will improve the way I give feedback to students.  Formally, I hope to develop a system to give students feedback about writing that meaningfully a) tells students where they are, b) what they need to do to improve and c) is efficient enough that I can provide frequent and timely feedback to all students.  I also need to make sure I am giving informal feedback more frequently to all students.  (I hope that moving to a Standards Based Grading system will enable these things to happen organically).

Now that I’m essentially 3/4 of the way through the year, and as most of my thinking turns to school-wide structures for next year, I am more and more excited about the use of SBG to help students know where they are and what they need to do to improve. With that said, I also have become aware of some of the limitations of how I implemented SBG in my social studies class. SBG has really helped my students understand what they need to do to improve individual assignments, but they are still struggling with how to improve overall.  I think a lot of this has to do with the number of goals, particularly for the year.  Twelve goals for the year was too many, especially as some (Imagination, Questioning, Revision, Reflection) only come up on rare or isolated assignments.  I would also rethink the goals of Sourcing and Evidence, combining and changing them to be “Selection of Evidence” and “Use of Evidence.”

I am doing a better job of more frequent informal oral feedback, but have struggled to get informal written feedback to students in a useful manner. 

Students will have multiple opportunities to rethink and revise their answers to large essential questions throughout each unit, and will also reflect on and revise all major work.

This goal is getting better. Students had opportunities to workshop and revise persuasive speeches, and there is lots of time for revisions built in to our current Project Citizenship work.

The Social Studies Critical Friends Group will meet once a month, and will be valuable for its participants.

The group gets better and better with every meeting, and the core group of ten (eight original members, and two wonderful additions) are reaching new heights together.  There will be a longer post on this in the near future, and I’m planning a session for EdCamp Social Studies to share with more people.

100% of my new advisees will either graduate or earn at least ten credits by June.

All fourteen are on pace with credits, and my advisory did particularly well on Regents, so this goal is looking very good.

100% of my advisees will be accepted to college, and will have a plan to pay for it or whatever else they choose to do next year.

At this point, nearly all have been accepted somewhere, but we have not yet started on having plans to pay for it.  I think this will happen in April.

Personal / Professional Development 
At least once per week, I will write and publish a piece of writing about teaching social studies, be it about my practice or teaching in general.

Back on pace, and doing more writing than I’ve done since my first year of blogging now that I’m not on Twitter.  

Every two months, I will write and publish a self-evaluation of how I am doing on these goals.

Check. Check. Check


2 thoughts on “Reflection on School Year Goals #3

  1. As always, I enjoyed reading your post today. I have been going through some stressful events largely in part because I require structure but lack the skills to moderate it on my own. I liked your idea of setting goals and reflecting on them. This is something that I really need to put into place in my own life. I am wondering, when you first started this, how did you determine the number of goals and the frequency at which you would actively reflect on those goals? I’ve thought about printing my goals and taping them to my desk. Also, I am sure that you covered this a previous post, but what is a Standards Based Grading system?



  2. Thanks for the kind words, Randy. For the goals, I started setting the annual goals because it was mandated at my school. I found most of those goals (which had to be in the SMART format) to be relatively meaningless, so I started doing my own. I decided on two months because I figured that would be the minimum amount of time to see meaningful growth in myself. I also tend to ignore stuff I tape on my desk, so forcing myself to come back to these everyone two months was a good reminder.

    For SBG, I would recommend checking out the SBG category to the right (if you’re in the browser). I haven’t written a ton on it, so it’s pretty easy to follow the posts starting from the beginning. There are people far better on SBG than I am though, particularly in math. Tweet to the #sbar tag for help, and you’ll be inundated. Check out the Think Thank Thunk, Always Formative, and Action-Reaction blogs as well. There was also an issue of Educational Leadership this year on grading that had a ton on it.


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