Learner-driven goal setting

As a student of learner empowerment research and best practices, I would like to share with this community of practitioners for your feedback.

Acknowledging our prior knowledge

My colleagues and I have taken the time to share and name some of the stuff we already do that honor student agency through choice, voice, and ownership. We are already doing so many great things! (Choice of product for summative assessments, leading morning meetings, keeping a learning portfolio on Seesaw, continually reflecting on and adjusting the classroom setup, etc, etc…)

Adapting what we are learning

This week, we have Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences, and my students were EXCITED to share their learning, but WORRIED to share their strengths and goals. Here is how I decided to scaffold student goal-setting:

-I told students that their parents just received their reports and NWEA results, and that we are working together to use all this information to learn what to teach them next. I asked them if they thought it was only fair then for them to write me a report card too. They helped me plan what the report card would look like and in gave it to them the following day.

– I introduced conferences as a way to get support for student goals based on strengths. Students tuned into ATLs (Transdisciplinary Skills) as a way to approach content (UOI, Literacy, Math). Learning Intention: How can I use my strengths to achieve my best learning?

-I copied Taryn @makinggoodhumans , remembering her first week of school engagement to have students share their honest feelings about learning different content.

-My grade level team used a common goal-setting sheet that I initiated with my students by having them choose an academic goal and a personal goal. I checked in with each student to clarify their goals and elicit and suggest possible actions they might try to target their goal.

-As a whole group and in partners, we shared what actions we might take to support our goals. Students determined they would use our anchor charts and learning intentions slides to pick strategies to match their goals. I offered to consolidate and print these for them. I did this and charted the strategies according to the skills that guided their initial personal and academic goal-setting.

-The next day, I put students with their partners to circle, highlight, and star strategies that would help them choose actions to meet their goals.

-Our EAL coteaching expert and I supported conferring with students about their choices, and partners teamed up to offer feedback.


Students were given the scaffolding they needed to successfully choose specific and personal goals with actions they understood. Tomorrow they are excited to share these with their parents in our 3-way-conferences. We will visit them along the way and formally check in in January to reflect and make new goals.

Would love to hear any suggestions about how to deepen the process or honor more student ownership!

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