It is important for high school students to set realistic goals. Effective goal setting can help lead students down the path they want to follow in their future. They must not only look at the short-term goals but also larger goals related to higher education and/or career path.
There are numerous benefits of goal setting such as increased motivation, active involvement in their own schooling, and time management. Look below to find a variety of our favorite resources for goal-setting activities that are appropriate for high school students.
1. Digital Vision Board
An effective vision board can be a great start to get students thinking about their future paths. What are their dreams for the short and long term? It is a great starting point and a fun activity to get them thinking!
Learn more: Lindsay Ann Learning
2. Bucket List Goals
A cool Senior year activity that is simple, but helps promote students reaching a variety of goals and being involved in extracurricular activities is a bucket list. Students can modify the list of activities to create the perfect list that meets their personal satisfaction. Maybe some students want to be involved more in social activities or others in clubs - either way, a bucket list gets students reaching short terms goals!
Learn more: By Sophie Lee
3. College Week Goal Setting
This college week activity is kind of like a spirit week to prep students for applying to college. Each day they work towards a different goal - filling out applications, writing essays, interview prep, etc. The week can really be whatever your students need it to be. It is also a great idea to do if you have a large population of first-time college students who need extra support.
Learn more: Mundelein High School
4. Setting SMART Goals
This doodle sheet is a great tool to use to create a mini-goal for your class. The students will write achievable goals using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals rules when writing them. The goals are individualized academic goals so each student's work will be unique.
Learn more: Math Giraffe
5. Short-Term Goal Worksheet
For middle school students entering high school, a great activity is this short-term goal worksheet. Students will look at specific goal areas and determine what personal goals related to it that they need to work on, as well as who will support them and the action steps that need to be taken to attain each.
Learn more: B Schwartz
6. Resume Writing Activity
One of the goals many secondary students have is to get a job. This can be used as a teaching moment on how to obtain a job you want with a good resume. Provide students with a couple of examples of good and bad resumes. Allow them to review to see what makes a resume good. Then you can help students apply their broader skills to writing resumes for the job they want!
Learn more: Write on With Miss G
7. Personal Timeline
It is important students have an idea of future goals. A way to visualize and organize this is through a timeline. Students can often not realize that time goes by quickly. This timeline helps them see what are realistic goals to set. If they make a digital one, they can also easily add in goal updates as they change and grow.
Learn more: Buncee Blog
8. Goal Mapping
Mind mapping is all about the future and it involves more than just academic goals. This type of activity is great for juniors or seniors to start thinking about adulthood. The video shows you a model of how to create goal planning using mind mapping. It generally includes categories such as finance, wellness goals, relationships, and more.
9. Student-Led Conferences
Having conferences with students is a great activity to check in on them. These student-led conversations about goals are great because they allow older students to take responsibility for their learning. The conferences can include many things such as behavioral goals, academic goals, and action items to be followed up on.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
10. Classroom Goal Display
Students will write goal statements for their specific class or this can be used by advisory teachers. The actionable goals will be displayed with sticky notes on a bulletin board to be a reminder of what each student is working towards. When the student reaches a goal, follow-up goals or new goals can be written.
Learn more: Reflections of an Intentional Teacher
11. Grade Tracker
This tracker allows students to take ownership of their goal progress for grades. They set a target grade for each class and track their own progress. At the end of the grading period, they see if they have reached their goal. There is also a section for comments where they can give themselves feedback to help with reaching their next target.
Learn more: Etsy
12. Leveling Goals
Goal-setting exercises are a great way to teach students how to write explicit goals. Vague goals won't get you far, so practicing leveling goals or steps per goal will help students to write a successful goal they will likely reach.
Learn more: Just Add Students
13. Long-Term Goals Vs. Short-Term Goals
In this activity, students learn about the difference between long and short-term goals. This is important for students to understand so that they can properly place action steps towards achieving goals; especially if it is a larger goal.
Learn more: Worksheet Place
14. Daily Goals
Use this to set goals with students each morning. It is great for goal-setting practice using simple daily goals. The activity has students write a small goal each day.
Learn more: Teachers Pay Teachers
15. Goal Builder
This activity includes a lesson plan for the writing component of goal-setting. It uses the word goal as an acronym to follow for writing - Guts, Obstacles, Action statements and Looking ahead. It also makes for a great goal-setting bulletin board kit or you can make a 3D version for students to keep at their desks.
Learn more: The Thinker Builder
16. Health Habits Tracker
Building healthy habits is part of reaching goals! Have students use this activity to track their habits. Students can choose from a few different tracking options and pick what works for them - a mandala tracker, a dot tracker, and more.
Learn more: The Artisan Life
17. New (School Year) Goals
Goal writing can be difficult for some students. Help them to create meaningful goals and better understand the effectiveness of goal setting by giving concrete examples and non-examples of good goal writing. Goal writing development of skills students need to be successful and this simple game is sure to help!
Learn more: Ashleigh's Education Journey
18. Character Counts
Teach character-based goals by having students watch this video clip from the movie, "Coach Carter". It is a great segue activity to start a discussion around character goals. Then have students write goals around different character traits they want to work on.
Learn more: Jon Doyou
19. Reading about Excellence Activity
This reading focuses on achievement goals...and sometimes it is really hard to reach those goals. It uses Michael Jackson as an example that you reach a goal through persistence. Pair this with a Venn diagram to have students compare and contrast perfection with excellence.
Learn more: Samuel Cheong
20. Goal Buddies
Sometimes making an effort for students can be hard. It is easy when you are busy to not hold yourself accountable for reaching goals. Have students read this article with strategies for getting an accountability buddy. Then have them create a plan together!
Learn more: NY Times