Friday, December 13, 2013

Goals and Timelines

A goal without a timeline is simply a dream.
Kevin O'Leary

When Kevin O'Leary said this on an episode of Shark Tank, it stuck in my mind and has been percolating around in there ever since.

Goal setting is a big part of a CAFE classroom.  Students declare goals based on assessments and employ strategies in an effort to reach them.

How might the simple addition of a time frame affect their growth?

For instance,

Me: Andrew, how long do you think it will take you to finish this Magic Tree House book?
Andrew: I don't know.
Me: How many pages are you reading each day?
Andrew: Um.  Let's see.
After thumbing through the book, Andrew discovers that he is reading about 12 pages a day.
Me: So Andrew, there are 80 pages and you are on page 56.  If you read 12 pages today and 12 pages tomorrow, you'll be able to finish this whole book by tomorrow afternoon.  I am going to make an appointment with you on my calendar for the day after that so we can chat about how it went.  This is so exciting!


Me: Emma, I notice you are spelling they like it sounds, t-h-a-y.  The actual spelling is t-h-e-y.  If you practiced this word during Word Work, how long do you think it would take you to memorize it?
Emma: Hmm.  One day, probably.
Me: One day?  And then you would know it forever?
She smiles.
Me: Okay!  I am going to trust you to choose Word Work between now and Friday and really work hard to learn that word.  I'll meet with you a week from Friday and we'll peek in your writing notebook to have a scavenger hunt for the word they to see how it is going.

The timeline adds a little more accountability and is, perhaps, just the boost students need to accelerate their progress.

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