Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reach for New Heights

This has become one of my favorite activities to use in my classroom.
I learned long ago in the 11 glorious years of instructing students, that these mini-adults need a focus, a driver, an idea to believe in, a GOAL! Too often I saw students who would aim for the 'dirt' as it were, rather than set a goal that seemed JUST out of reach and strive and work hard to achieve it.

I knew it had to be something that would motivate without allowing for students to be harassed or embarrassed. Something big and visual, yet not a complete distraction during the day.

Hence we created our class Goal Quilt (pictured above). I give the students an 8in x 8in square of colored paper (I use card stock because it is easier to deal with and it holds up much better during the student's sketching and coloring phase of the project. Obviously, you could choose paper that matches your school colors, season, or whatever. I like the various bright colors because it makes the quilt exciting to look at.

First, I discuss with the students what a goal is so they understand what a 'good' goal is and isn't. Once they have decided on their goal (and I ask them to make it school-related), then we discuss what a symbol is. My rule about a goal square is that they can not use WORDS to explain their goal. If you notice OUR quilt, you can see that they used words on the symbol. I didn't really want this either, but since the goal is obviously to get good grades, I relented and allowed them to do that. NO NAMES are on the front. That one I DO stick to. I tell the students that this goal square is for them, they don't need to tell ANYONE what their goal is. Once they have drawn and colored their square and I have mounted it, I ask them about once a week as they leave the room for the day if they are meeting their goal. This keeps them thinking about their goal. We make a new quilt every quarter. This year, instead of making 4 separate quilts, I just turned over the first quarter's quilt and glued the second quarter's quilt on the back. Wahoo! Less paper and work.

Since we have an odd number of students, I made three squares to fill out the chart. I put the quarter of the quilt, one with our class motto, and then I make a goal square as well. This helps the students see that even adults need to set goals. I just use a permanent glue stick and black butcher paper or large sheets of construction paper glued together.

Mine is hanging on our black classroom wall where they will see it during NON-instructional times.

I feel this really has made a difference in our class as I ask the kids individually each quarter if they have met their goals.



  1. I love this very visual reminder of the goals your students have for themselves. Thanks for all you do to prepare your students for high school. They are lucky to have you as a teacher.

  2. What a brilliant idea, Mr. H!

    Kids at that age need to be reminded of their goals, or they’ll quickly forget. And this is a perfect way of doing that.

    I sort of like the name “Aspire Quilt”.

  3. Diplo- Me too! Thanks for the name change idea. Hope all is well.


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