Portfolio Entry #4: Reflection on Goals

The goal of the portfolio is threefold: to document some of the work I did this past year, to take the time to reflect and learn, and to share with the larger community I am lucky to have through this blog.  I will be posting a portfolio entry a day until it’s done.  There are eight entries, one for each year of my career thus far.  Questions, comments, and thoughts are always greatly appreciated, but are even more so for this.  Previous entries are here.

I’m not sure I still like how I do goals.  Or maybe I’m just not good at setting goals.  But having done this goal reflection on my blog for two years now, I’m not sure how much value it adds to my life throughout the year.  With that said, I feel like the process of setting goals at the start of the school year, knowing that I’ll later reflect on them, has been worthwhile.  I am thinking that next year, perhaps, instead of setting measurable goals, I’ll pick some key questions that I’ll answer regularly.  But without further ado, here is my last reflection on this year’s goals.  As always, my reflections are in italics.


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).

This was one of my largest areas of growth this year.  My final portfolio entry will be a big reflection on using SBG, but needless to say, I am a full convert, and it is a system that will greatly inform my new school.  

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.

More or less, I accomplished this goal.  I was better with essential questions than I’ve been in past years, and definitely had students do the most reflecting.  There was not enough revision in my class, though increasing time spent revising may not be possible with my students’ work completion rates.  I need to keep this goal for next year.  


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

We met once a month, and I believe it was valuable for all its participants.  We have at least seven people committed to continuing next year, which I take as a good sign.  


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

Two students didn’t graduate because they were out of school for most of second semester for medical reasons; one missed by a few points on the Algebra Regents, which killed me.  

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.

Everyone accepted, and with a couple more steps, everyone will have a plan to pay.

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.

With the exception of the period I couldn’t type because of a broken wrist, I met this goal, and will continue it moving forward.  

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

Check. Check. Check. Check. And check.

Next Entry: What I Wish I Knew at the Start of the Year