As the first day of school draws near, it’s a great time to envision your goals for the coming year. If you have Reading A-Z, Raz-Kids and Writing A-Z, you can set manageable goals with resources suitable for a range of learning levels. Although you most likely set and reset teaching goals throughout the year, we’ve come up with some easy-to-follow steps to get you started, including a sample planning chart that guides you through ways to prepare for the school year. We also provide a blank template chart that you can use for yourself, or have students complete as they set their own learning goals.
Effective planning always begins with reflection. Think back to the previous school year and ask: What skills did students need more practice with when they started? How did their skills progress? What kinds of activities had the most impact?
Along with reflecting on these questions, Reading A-Z and Writing A-Z assessment resources can help you better understand the knowledge that your new students bring to the classroom. Reading A-Z’s Benchmark Books and Passages are one of many assessment resources that help determine student reading behavior and comprehension. With Raz-Kids, students can record themselves reading Benchmark Passages and Benchmark Books; they can also record retellings of these texts and take quizzes that determine their reading levels. Then, you can use Running Records to access their recordings, score their quizzes, and get a comprehensive picture of their skill development.
Process Writing Tools in Writing A-Z contain printable and projectable rubrics for traits of good writing and for the characteristics of a particular writing genre. Writing A-Z also has online writing tools, where students publish their work and send it to the teacher on Kids A-Z. After students have submitted their writing, you can grade each assignment based on the traits of good writing. Using these resources in the first few weeks of school can pave the way for improved student learning outcomes.
Based on your reflections and the data you glean from our assessment resources, you can determine what your students need to practice during the school year. Your goals can be tailored to your school’s or district’s priorities while keeping in mind your classroom’s needs and strengths. Whether as small as ensuring that all students create their own name-cards on the first day, or as large as facilitating a student-produced play, your goals set the tone for your classroom and guide student learning for the rest of the year.
If one of your goals is to encourage students to see themselves as writers, Writing A-Z’s Build-A-Book online writing environment guides students through writing, illustrating and publishing books that they can share with their peers. If you aim to increase student engagement with fiction and nonfiction texts, Reading A-Z’s Literature Circles structure in-depth group discussions about high-interest books that students choose to read.
Both Writing A-Z and Reading A-Z have the materials you need to reach your teaching goals. Reading A-Z includes Resource and Curriculum Correlation pages that help you find the right materials for your needs. Use the Books by Skills Chart to find differentiated resources for the skills you’d like to teach, or search the Reading A-Z website by topic or keyword to find books that will interest your students. The Instructional Support page of Writing A-Z has links to a variety of quick writing activities that you can incorporate into your curriculum, such as wordless books, writing prompts, story cards, and more. These assignments ensure that writing becomes a fun and structured part of every school day.
Once you have imagined your goals and located the resources you need to achieve them, take action and follow-up on objectives with a variety of assessment tools and ways to encourage student achievement. The digital In Basket feature of Kids A-Z lets you review and score student reading and writing activities with built-in rubrics and assessment reports. As your students continue to reach their learning goals, our Rewards and Incentives allow you to print out and personalize certificates for student progress, or recognize students through bonus star awards to spend in our digital incentives.
Visualize Your Plan
See the sample chart below for an example of how reflections can lead to setting goals, finding resources, and taking action.
Click the link below for a PDF of a blank chart like the one above that you can use to plan your goals for the semester.