The start of a new year provides an excellent opportunity to get the children to reflect on their progress in different skills and subjects throughout the autumn term and select some new targets to improve their classroom behaviour and attainment for the remaining two terms of the school year.
You can spend time during an early morning session or at the end of the school day helping the children select individual and class targets that are measurable and attainable. If the class have set some targets at the beginning of the school year then these can be reviewed to assess progress to help suggest classroom changes that can be introduced to refocus attention so that each target can be successfully achieved by the end of the school year.
Individual and Class Focuses
You can either get the children to select some targets for the whole class to work towards or individual children can select some targets to improve their own behaviour and attainment. Any class targets can be directed towards the children’s behaviour and attitude in the classroom as opposed to academic work which might need more individual targets. Spend time discussing with the class what happened in the previous term so that they can select a target to work on as a group. Make a list on the board of ideas for improvement targets that the class can then select one or two targets as the focus for that term.
You can help individual children select personal targets by getting them to review previous work. Tell them to spend time looking back through their books and topics from the autumn term to identify any consistent errors in their work such as common spelling errors or mistakes in maths number calculations. The children can then use these identified errors to help select targets for the remainder of the school year. For example, I can spell words that end in ed and ing. I can add and subtract numbers with four digits.
Measurable and Attainable
You need to help the children select targets that can be measured to check for their attainment. For example, if your class selects a target of lining up quietly without taking before leaving the classroom then this can be measured by setting a time limit so that the class has to line up and stand quietly before a one minute sand time has run out. A suggested class target could be: We need to line up by the classroom door without talking before the timer has ended.
Similarly, if one of the children selects a target of reading more books then this can be measured by getting them to select a number of books to read on a weekly basis or they can set a daily time limit. A suggested individual target could be: I will read a new fiction book each week or I will read for half an hour before bedtime each day.
Time should also be built into the school week to allow the class to review their progress against the selected targets. If the children have selected some class targets then these can be reviewed during an early morning session or at the end of the school day. You can display a chart in the classroom where a record can be kept to show when a selected target has been reached by the class i.e. number of times when the class line up without talking etc. Spend time discussing with the class steps that they can take to achieve the selected targets.
If the children have selected some individual targets then these can be reviewed during lessons. The children could record their selected targets on stickers on the front of their books or work folders so that they are always visible or you could display the individual targets on a display board in the classroom against each child’s name. Spend time during a lesson speaking individually to children to help them assess their progress to achieving their selected targets. Use a tick list to keep a record of children that you have spoken to about their targets so that everyone has the opportunity to assess their targets over the course of the term.
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