Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Setting Goals

Does your school use Accelerated Reader? Mine does. We use it to encourage kids to read more, and to focus on the content which they demonstrate by taking and passing quizzes. Students are recognized for earning various levels of points depending on grade level. It is not used for grades.

One feature that I found sometime last school year was the ability to set goals with the students and for the kids to earn certificates. To set the goals and certification levels, you sign in to your teacher account and go to Record Books and Goals. If you use the STAR reading assessment, you can have the program set a beginning goal based on their reading level and how many minutes you expect them to read per day.

Since our school awards a special medal to students earning 40 points by the end of the year I made this our goal. I broke up the points across the 3 trimesters as 10 points for the first, 15 for the second and 15 for the third trimester. When the kids log on and work on a quiz, they can see their progress towards their goal.

Many of my kids reached their goal before the end of the trimester. Now what? I asked them what each of them would like their goal to be next? We chatted about how much time they had and how many points they thought they could reach. The result? Students love to tell me that they reached their goal and ask me to set a new goal! Do I do it right then? Most often not. But we do find a time to set it for them. What happens if they don't reach this goal? Nothing. We talk about how far they've come by setting high goals. Here is an example of the goal info from the Home Connect login.

The certificates are in the same place as the goal setting. AR has certain criteria for the certificates. The goals and certificates they are working toward are visible on their page when they go to their account. Certification Criteria

Here are some of my kids with their current certificates.

If you have a supportive admin, see if you can send the kids down to the office to get the admin's signature on the certificate. The kids love it! This year several of my kids worked very hard to earn a certificate so our student teacher could sign it before her time with us was done.

So how do you use AR? What makes it fun and interesting for your class?

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