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My Math Study Skills class has just started chapter #5 on setting goals.  So many times my students will write goals such as "I will study more for math".  Sounds great, but this statement isn't a goal.  It is not specific or measurable, and I have no idea who is doing the goal.  Instead it should read something like this:  "I plan to set aside 15 minutes each Monday through Friday to study math."

Since mnemonic devices are a way to help students remember, I introduce the acronym (a word form created from the first letters of a series of words) SMART.

      A well written goal is learner oriented.  It emphasizes what the student is expected to do, not what the instructor will do.  It focuses on the outcome and not the learning activities that will lead to that outcome.  It uses clearly stated verbs that describe a definite action or behavior.  Finally, a well written goal describes an observable and measurable performance or end product.

      I keep this stair step visual in front of my students during the five weeks they are tracking their three math goals. It helps them to set-up attainable goals.
      When they accomplish a set goal, I have 
      noticed they feel more confident about math which, in turn, improves their self-esteem and helps the
      student to become a more internally motivated student.

I use a booklet called My Goal Tracker by Laura Candler, a top seller on Teachers Pay Teachers, which is free.  If you are interest in having your students set goals and keep track of how they are doing, I would suggest downloading this well laid out and easy to use booklet.

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