Friday, July 18, 2014

Achieving Goals

The year as ended and what a whirlwind it was.  I now have a bit of time to reflect on the year, both of myself and of my students.  Setting goals and making a plan to reach those goals is extremely important.  This is a skill that can help people in so many aspects of their life.  Setting a manageable pace at which to meet those goals can set one up for great success.

I challenged my students to read 40 books this year.  It was based on Donalyn Miller's idea that she originally proposed in her book The Book Whisperer.  My students thought this goal was utterly ridiculous as they are all struggling readers who have a disability in one or more areas.  I looped with them up to 8th grade, so I knew them fairly well and had confidence they could read way more this year than last.  I sent them a google doc with which to keep track of their reading, I conferenced with them once a week about their books, and we had discussions on how to squeeze in more time to read.  I modeled how I read, when I read and how I keep track of my books, so that they could see I was a reader too!  One big suggestion I had, was for them to always have a book with them.  Donalyn Miller states there are reading emergencies; times when you have to wait for 10-15 minutes, like for your older sister to get done with practice, or at the doctor's office, or when your parents run into the grocery store.  These are moments when you can really boost your reading. 

After a year of working towards their goal, here is the result:
The top picture is their last year's total (from memory), the bottom is this year's totals as kept track on their google doc.  We ate pizza and celebrated their success and discussed ways to keep reading over the summer.

I, personally, had a goal and it was to run a half-marathon.  I began the Runner's World Holiday Run Streak on Thanksgiving and found I really could run outside in the winter.  This winter being one of the worst on record!  After I completed the streak, I set out to keep running and run half-marathon.  I picked a half in my hometown to be ran on June 14.  I copied off a plan from Runner's World magazine and followed it to a "T".  I connected my running journey to my students' reading journey throughout the training process in class when we had time to share.

Here is my result:

I finished the half-marathon, feeling strong and confident in my training.

I am thinking about my next goal, and it will probably revolve around finishing my 317 Reading Specialist degree.  I will fill you in on that next time!