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Grit Curriculum Lesson: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Setting long-term goals is a key part of learning to be gritty. Teacher Beth Perkins helps her fifth graders evaluate their goals to understand the elements that make up the best ones. Download this lesson plan.
Transcript

Grit Curriculum Lesson: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Beth: Setting SMART goals is a great way to practice what it feels like to have self-control, to have control over your destiny.

Amy: It's so important to allow children to set their own goals, because if we're setting them for them, it may not have any relevance to the student at all.

Beth: The "S" in the SMART goal talks about being specific. Natalie, how did you set a specific goal about improving on the flute?

Student: I said I would learn how to play low E and F sharp on the flute.

Beth: So that's very specific, rather than just saying, "I'm gonna better at this." The "M" in SMART stands for measurable. Aiden, tell us how you planned to measure whether you had achieved your goal.

Student: With my goal, I was trying to reduce my race time to forty-seven seconds, so with each race and each time, I could see how far I got.

Beth: And you were able to say, you know, "I went from this amount of time to this amount of time." So that, you can measure that really readily. The "A" stands for attainable. Kennedy, you had a goal about soccer, but if I look outside right now, it's not exactly soccer season, so how did you do that?

Student: I practiced in my basement, and whenever I could at indoor soccer.

Beth: So Ellie, you didn't set out to learn calculus, you set out to become more fluent and more accurate in your long division. Gavin, I wanted to ask you about the "T" part of the SMART goal, which is that it's time sensitive. You decided you wanted to read three of the Warriors books, and how long did you give yourself for that?

Student: Three weeks.

Beth: So three books in three weeks, and that is a very helpful way to stay focused on your goal. Say, "Oh, someday I'm gonna read these three books." If you say, "In three weeks, I'm gonna read these three books," then that's a great way to help you stay focused and help you have the self-control you need to reach your goal.

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Edutopia's new video series, Research Made Relevant, is about connecting theory to practice. In each episode, we explore cutting-edge ideas about teaching and learning from the world of research, meet educators who are putting them to the test in their own classrooms, and give you lesson ideas, tools, and resources to try new ideas in your own work.