Setting goals is a great way to stay focused and on track. Without end-of-semester milestones, it can be difficult for teachers to reflect on the year ahead. What is a proper class without any goal-setting? It’s like a compass without a destination.
When teachers enter grades into their gradebook, they are essentially writing their own report cards. This is a good time to reflect on the previous semester and set expectations for the next one.
With the right tools, you can set both long-term and short-term goals in order to make next semester your best yet.
Utilizing the Various Features of Your Online Gradebook
First, let’s make sure you have the right tools. Many teachers are already using an online gradebook for quick grading and communication with parents, so why not take advantage of its other features? An online gradebook has many benefits to offer:
An online gradebook makes it easy to set goals by providing a bird’s-eye view of your past and future grades. An online gradebook allows you to set goals using spreadsheets and graphs, like the ones listed below.
Teachers get the opportunity to see patterns in their grades which can allow them to make informed decisions about class structure, grading schemes, and future curricula. An online gradebook makes it easy to share your progress with parents or administration.
By using a gradebook, you can easily identify students who need additional help or who may be ready for more advanced work. Student success is the teacher’s number one priority, and an online gradebook helps teachers track student progress from semester to semester.
Creating a Vision for the Year
What do you want your classroom to look like at the end of this semester and at the end of next semester? How will you know when your vision is achieved? These are questions that using an online gradebook can help teachers answer. By creating a plan, teachers will be able to set goals and measure results.
Improving Classroom Communication
When parents are able to see their child’s grades and progress, they will be better informed about the curriculum. An online gradebook allows teachers to send updates home immediately so that everyone is better informed about how their children are learning.
Teachers can use an online gradebook as a start-of-semester planning tool. With the dashboards offered in some online gradebooks, teachers can set goals for each class and see their plan come together throughout the semester.
Get Ready for Reporting Season
With just a few clicks, teachers can quickly see how their students are doing, and they can even share that information with parents. This is the perfect way to get a jump on reporting cards, report cards, progress reports, and more!
Prepare for Your First Family Conference
Many teachers make changes to their curriculum in an effort to create a better classroom environment. It’s beneficial to know what families will expect from you as a teacher before those first parent-teacher conferences. An online gradebook can help by showing families how their child is doing now, and what is to come in the next semester.
How to Encourage Students to Meet These Goals
Setting goals is a great way to motivate your students. This is especially true for those students who have a hard time seeing their progress. By setting achievable yet challenging goals, you can challenge your student academically while also alleviating some of the pressure that comes from standardized testing.
Here are some strategies you can implement to help your students meet the goals that have been set for next semester.
The best way to encourage students to meet their goals is by keeping track of how they are doing. By encouraging your students to check in with you on their progress, you can ensure that everyone is headed in the right direction.
Grading for Achievement, Not Effort
When grading papers, consider awarding points on quality rather than quantity. This means that if your student writes five great sentences, you may want to give him or her more credit than a student who writes five mediocre sentences.
Being Flexible and Adaptable
If a student has difficulty meeting his or her goals, consider changing the goal. Rather than neglecting the importance of reading for an entire semester, maybe your student can read 10 pages a night. Rather than having students write three perfect paragraphs every week, perhaps they should be writing two good paragraphs each day. When goals are flexible, students are more likely to feel successful at achieving them.
Most students have different learning styles, so consider this when setting goals. If you have a student who learns best with video lectures, maybe he or she can watch two videos each day rather than having to complete written assignments. As long as the goal is challenging yet achievable, you are bound to see results.
Using Online Gradebooks to Set Goals
With a gradebook that is accessible online, teachers can set goals and monitor progress while communicating with parents at the same time. Rather than having to keep track of grades with pen and paper, teachers can stay organized with an online gradebook.
An online gradebook helps teachers be better organized and it also helps them to set clear goals. By setting measurable, achievable goals for each student and utilizing the various features of your online gradebook, you can plan a successful classroom that prepares students for success in their future endeavors.
If this semester was not a good one, then you can certainly try to plan for the next semester better. You can brainstorm with your students about their interests or what they might want to learn how to do or accomplish before summer break. Some students may not know what they are interested in learning more about, so you can brainstorm ideas with them as well. You can also create a goal setting assignment for them to complete or participate in small groups.
The bottom line is that you will need to do some planning for next semester, so use your online gradebook as the tool it is meant to be. Use its features to plan your goals, and then use it to track progress towards those goals. With this information, you can make better decisions going forward with your students’ education.
Zara Raza is the Head of Marketing at SchoolCues, the all-in-one small school solution for schools with limited budgets and resources.