Making Personal Learning Goals with List Apps

Around February, I started following Kristi Mraz’s new blog, Kinderconfidential. Granted, I teach fifth grade, but reading about the little-people-world often gives me insight to where it all started for my “big kids”.  There was one particular post in which Kristi talked about her Fit Bit and how it taught her about making goals. Not just any goals, but goals you can reach. Goals that allow for little celebrations. Goals that create habits. 

At the time, my fifth graders were already beginning to show some signs of self-motivation because of our flipped lessons. They came to class ready to read and showed interest in trying out a reading, writing, or math strategy they learned the night before. However, Kristi’s post made me realize that the kids who were off task or reading without post-its had just unknowingly given up. The “goal” of using that particular strategy taught last night was unattainable. They didn’t know they where to begin. They needed a goal they could reach – a personal learning goal. 

As a 1:1 iPad class, I’m always thinking of ways my students can use them that are both beneficial to their learning and applicable to the real-world. So I asked myself, “how can these iPads help my kids set personal learning goals?” It dawned on me that I make goals everyday on the iPhone. They’re called to-do lists! Therefore, I introduced my kids to the app I used for making lists. It is called Wunderlist (available as an app on desktop and mobile devices). What’s great about apps like Wunderlist is that kids can check off each goal during the day or star it if it’s a goal they need to work on. They can set due dates. They can even share their list with their parents or me so we can help them achieve the goal. Most importantly, the list counts up all the goals they’ve checked off and shows them how many goals they’ve accomplished so far. Talk about celebrating! It sure feels good when you see that you’ve accomplished 15 goals each month.

Writing personal learning goals can be challenging at first. I have to model it, use students as models, and refer to our anchor charts for goal ideas.  After awhile, it becomes just part of the morning routine. 23 kids, 23 learning paths, hundreds of celebrations. 🙂

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