SMART Goal-Setting

A while back in 4th and 5th grade, we worked on appropriate goal-setting.

After working with my study skills group for a few months I realized that they had trouble making realistic and appropriate goals for themselves. They either made goals that were WAY too difficult, therefore leading to inevitable failures, or they didn’t trust their own abilities and made goals that were extremely easy.

They couldn’t find the balance that needed to be there. They either set themselves up for failure or they didn’t believe in themselves enough to work for a more difficult goal.

Just as K-3 is working on “Looking SMART,” “Walking SMART,” and “Playing SMART,” I decided the 4th and 5th graders need to start making SMART goals.


Topics Covered: Trustworthiness, Responsible Behavior, Self-Confidence Development, Motivation to Achieve

We started by going over the new SMART poster. Most of the words they weren’t too familiar with, so I went into detail about what exactly these words were describing.


Then we went through and made”example” good and bad goals for each letter. I wanted them to see exactly what I meant by specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. (These are not my examples. These are examples I found somewhere, which helped guide my lesson.)

5They each got their own goal sheets.

6We brainstormed appropriate subjects to set goals for and I even opened it up to sport goals. The boys chose one subject on which to focus all 5 goals. I emphasized the importance of choosing a subject that they needed to improve in and NOT a subject in which they were already really good.

Below, we call this the “Creative Goal-Setter:”


And the “Goal-Setters Who Actually Listened and Understood:”

2 3And the “Academic Goal-Setter:”

1Many tweeks and prompts were needed, but to me all this meant was that this was an appropriate lesson, because they have never before been asked to make and verbalize SMART goals.

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