Try it Tuesday: Revising a Goal…Card

Part of being relatively new to the workshop model is acceptance of personal limits on time, resources, and physical strength (I carry a lot of books around these days, but my twig arms persist). What workshop instructors can’t be short on is creativity, sales skills, or copies of  All the Light We Cannot See

So, as I start my second year exploring workshop, I find that some things need major overhaul (my capacity to read all of the books I want to read and share with kids) and some need tweaking (I’m going to try not to tear up while book talking The Kite Runner next year,..but no promises).

Last spring, I wrote about trying to motivate my readers with a visual reminder of the goals they were setting for their weekly reading. We created goal cards and placed them in our choice reading text at the point we wanted to read to (and beyond!) in the coming week. The card looked like this:


Great. Except…not so great.

The goal card, meant to be inspirational, looked like a standings report at a track meet. Numbers, checkmarks, and most hideous of all, math. 

So, in the spirit of innovation, I went back through our former posts to find one I remembered from Shana about self-monitoring reading homework by calculating reading rates and then making bookmarks out of paint samples to inspire her readers. Beautiful shade progressions to symbolize change, quotes to inspire reading greatness, and reading rates, all tucked neatly in a text: IMG_9336

Great. Except…not so great.

Wisconsin hardware and paint stores now seem to only carry single color swatches or detailed color wheels in elaborate weekend warrior pamphlets, neither of which hold a place in a book in influential fashion.

Enter, my revised goal cards. A marriage of inspiration, functionality, and good old fashioned visual cues:

Students spent a few minutes finding quotes about books and reading that spoke to them. With my sample under the document camera as a guide, students created goal cards that reminded them of the importance and power of reading, and of not only setting goals, but keeping those goals visible in their daily reading.

Instead of using these cards as bookmarks, however, we calculated our reading rates (How many pages did you read during our ten minute reading? Multiply it by six and then double it for a two hour goal in your current text.), wrote them on the first page of our writer’s notebook under our text goals for the year, and then put the goal card in the book at the approximate place we’d reach in the text when we’d read for two hours.

Goal setting is important. As I tell the kids, it’s so important that we need to get our goals in print and on our minds to see them daily and make reading a habit.

Visual cues can help. In fact, sometimes they make the difference between passive participation (Sure, Mrs. Dennis. I’ll read for ten minutes in class…) and the active engagement we all seek.

What tweaks have you made to your workshop practice this year? Any major overhauls? Please share your ideas in the comments below. 


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