Keeping students motivated during classwork is a common issue many teachers deal with. It’s a long day for students, especially those in elementary school who remain in the same classroom all day. Zoning out or not paying attention during independent practice can be easy for students to do - don’t let them! By setting both daily goals and long term goals for students to achieve on Front Row, you will keep your students motivated to try their best at all times.
This article will cover:
1. How to set daily goals for students using Front Row
2. Monitoring which students met the daily goals
3. How to set long-term goals for students using Front Row
4. How to monitor progress towards long-term goals throughout the year
5. Using reinforcers and rewards when goals are met
6. The Piggy Store
The beauty of setting daily goals is that students are easily able to see the end line. They know that if they focus for only 15-25 minutes, they should be able to reach the goal set for that day. Therefore, these daily goals are much easier to reach than long-term goals, which seem so far in the future that students struggle connecting their daily effort with the long-term goals.
1. Set daily goals for students
Examples of Daily Goals
- Earn 200 coins during today’s practice session
- Advance to the next level during today’s practice session
- Answer more than 80% of your questions correctly during today’s practice session
2. Check progress at the end of the session to determine which students met daily goals
At the end of independent practice time, you should check to see which students have met the daily goal set. Below will explain how you can check to see if students met each of the example goals above.
Checking Coin Totals
Teachers can check coin totals in several different ways. The easiest way is to click on "Adaptive Practice" on the left navigation bar, where the coin totals are available for that day and week (second column). You can change the time period by using the dropdown menu at the top.
Teachers can also recognize students who met the daily or weekly coin total goal by having those students raise their hands and keep the Front Row app open on their screens. The teacher can then walk by each student’s screen to double check. The coin total for a student can be found in the following places:
Advancing a Level
If a student advances a level, it means that they have mastered a Common Core standard. In order to determine whether students have mastered a standard during independent practice, you can use the Matrix View, found by clicking "Groups & Matrix" on the left navigation bar. Take a screenshot of the Matrix View (in the domain you will have students working) before the session starts, and then open the Matrix View once the session is over. You will be able to see which students advanced levels in that particular domain because they will have more boxes filled in. For example, let’s pretend that the Matrix below represents where my students are working at the beginning of a session. If Earl Krause has a green box in Level 13 and a new box (of any color) in Level 14 by the end of the practice session, then that means he has mastered the standard covered in Level 13 and moved up to Level 14.
Answer a Certain Percent of Questions Correctly
In order to determine the percentage correct of each student, you click on "Adaptive Practice" on the left navigation bar. This page shows you the total number of questions answered and the percentage correct (accuracy). Clicking the arrow next to a student's name will show you the standard that student was focusing on during a particular day’s practice. Assuming that we set a class goal of 80% correct, the summary below shows that 2 students met the goal, while most others were close.
3. Recognize students who met the daily goal with a small reinforcer
Once you have determined which students met the daily goals, it’s time to recognize them. Here are some ways to recognize the students who met the daily goal:
- Have them stand up and give them a class cheer
- Give them each 5 minutes of computer time
- Award them class points or tickets that can be used later
- Have them write their name on the board under a section called "Goal Getters" (can be erased each day)
A great resource that we encourage you to use to recognize positive behavior is ClassDojo (www.classdojo.com). This tool helps identify the students who do a great job by allowing a teacher to award students with points that are tracked throughout the week. At the end of the week, ClassDojo will automatically send parent reports home via e-mail to keep parents involved. Regardless of how you reward students, make sure that you do it right after independent practice! It is far too easy to forget a reward, and when your promises are empty, your daily goal setting will mean nothing to the students.
While daily goals may be easier for students to internalize and focus on, setting long-term goals will help to guide a student to succeed throughout the entire year. Think of long-term goals as the roadmap for a student, while the daily goals are all the pit stops along the way. If you don’t have meaningful long-term goals in place, then the daily goals don’t mean much.
1. Use the Matrix view to set long term goals with students.
In order to set long term goals with students on Front Row, think of where you want that student to be several weeks, months and years in the future. What should that student be able to do by the end of the month? By holiday break? By the end of the year? Now build out long-term goals on Front Row that will help them reach that. Note that each long-term goal has a concrete outcome and a set time frame.
Next, look at the Matrix view (by clicking "Groups & Matrix" on the left navigation bar) and meet with each student for 2-3 minutes to discuss their long-term goals. Make certain that the long-term goals are rigorous yet reasonable. For example, I wouldn’t expect Ava Mcdaniel to master all of the 1st Grade CCOA standards by holiday break because she is so far behind. Both teacher and student should write down these goals and keep them in a safe place for reference.
Rigorous yet Reasonable Long Term Goals for the Matrix Above (Assuming it is August)
- Earl and Frederick will master all 1st grade CCOA standards on Front Row by the end of the year
- Ava will move up 6 levels in the CCOA domain by the holiday break
- Allen will master level 23 by the end of September
2. Determine rewards for achieving the long-term goals.
The teacher should meet with a student and his or her parent(s) (if possible) to determine what the reward will be if he or she reaches the long-term goals set. Ideally, the teacher and parent will both be able to provide a meaningful reward for the student, but it doesn’t have to be anything crazy - just meaningful to that student! This reward will give the student something to work towards throughout the entire year.
3. Have students track their own progress towards achieving long-term goals.
Having students track their own progress will cause them to become more invested in achieving these long-term goals. You can have students create graphs or charts that will recognize each step they take towards reaching the goals set. For example, a student can color in a box or add a sticker to a chart each time they move up a level. This will also help to recognize the small steps of progress it takes to reach the larger goal.
4. Always follow up with the reward
If a student achieves his or her goals, always follow through with the reward. Teach them that good things come with hard work and sacrifice and recognize that their effort was not in vain. If a parent was involved in reward setting, do you best to make sure that he or she follows through and delivers on the promise as well!