Setting -- and Achieving -- Goals at School
Praise children for working hard on difficult tasks. “You’ve told me you hate writing,” you might say, “so I was impressed that you were able to fill half a page!” Or “You stuck with that math problem until you figured out the answer.”
Have a class discussion about overcoming obstacles. Ask kids to think about times when they hit a roadblock in trying to achieve something. Did they give up or did they find a way around the roadblock? If they gave up, can they think of something they might have done to fix the problem? Use athletes as an example. Are superstar athletes born talented? How did they get so good? Talk about realistic versus unrealistic goals -- the ones we have control over and the ones we don’t.
Have the class set a common goal. A good class goal might be 85 percent of the class turning in homework each week. Have students talk about what each can do to help achieve the goal. Agree on a class reward if they meet the goal -- or a bonus if they exceed it.
Make a personal connection with kids before setting goals. Look for ways to help the ADD/ADHD students in your class feel valued and liked. Learn about each one’s interests and engage him in a conversation. Once you’ve established rapport, talk with him privately about something he may be struggling with, and ask him if he’d be willing to set a goal with you. “I’ve noticed that it takes you longer than other kids to settle down when you come in from recess. Why don’t we keep track of how long it takes you each day for a week, and then see if we can beat the time next week?”