How to set learning goals for students


Once you’ve taken the time to get to know your students on a personal level and completed the necessary assessments to work out where they’re at academically, it’s now the perfect time to start to set learning goals for your students to work towards!

To help make this process easier for you, I’ve listed my top 5 steps on how teachers set their students up to achieving their learning goals both inside and outside of the classroom.

Get your students involved in setting their own learning goals

When setting goals with your students, it is so important to give them realistic and achievable goals. Setting good habits at the start of the school year puts your students, and your class as a whole, in good stead to know what to expect for the remainder of their year. Ideally, you would work with each student to understand what *they* want to achieve as well. This will no doubt inspire them to work harder to achieve their goal and help to set them up for success!

Model (aka TEACH!) the desired behaviour or SET learning goal

Probably most importantly – when you set learning goals, you as the teacher need to model it. Each student benefits from seeing you modelling the desired behaviour or goal, as it helps them see that it *is* possible for them too! It’s not enough to give a student a goal slip and expect them to know what to do… We need to model and teach the behaviour. It also allows students to see what success looks like! By setting challenging goals for individual students and the class as a whole, you’re developing and maintaining a classroom culture of high expectations. (High Impact Teaching Strategies, DET).

Keep student goals visible

I don’t know how many times I asked a student what they’re learning goal is only to be stared at blankly in return. It was then that I realised just how important it is to have student goals visible and accessible to the children at all times! Goal Setting resources came into fruition!>

I created my Goals Posters to be placed in a prominent area in the classroom and the Goal Reminder Slips to be placed on the student’s Goals Desk Mat which is then stuck on to their tables.

Tropical Themed Student Goal Desk Mats

Keep parents posted!

As a parent, I understand what it’s like to feel a bit out of the loop in terms of what your child is learning. When I ask my kids what they did at school each day, I usually get a “can’t remember!” which makes it really hard to keep the conversation going!

As a teacher, I love to use my Goal Slips for different reasons. Of course, the main point is for my little learner’s sake – but they’re also a great way to communicate with parents! I would send them home in their child’s reading log, which would allow parents to simply be aware of a goal their child is working towards which will assist them in consolidating and reinforcing this learning in the home too. Parents really do love to know what their children are up to!

Celebrate the wins – big and small!

When students achieve their goals, no matter how small, it’s time to celebrate! While it’s important for students to feel a sense of success and pride within themselves, we’re also able to celebrate success with their friends.

As an individual this could look like:

– a class announcement praising those that reached their goals

– certificates documenting the goal they achieved

– a check list that the student could pop a sticker on

As a class, celebrating success might look like:

– free time on a Friday afternoon

– a dance party

– or a specific reward the class had agreed upon 

The possibilities are endless, and are best designed by you and your students together!

Ready to start implementing goals in your classroom?

Talking about goals at the start of the year really aids in setting a good foundation for the remainder of the year. For Term 1, I would suggest keeping it simple, and focusing on a reading and a personal goal for each student. This could look like sitting on the floor quietly, tying shoe laces independently, putting one’s hand up to speak – basically focusing on behavioural and developmental goals. Goal slips are ideal for individual use, whereas for class goals, I like to have posters around the room as a reminder for students.

In my online store, I have gorgeous goals slips and posters, as well as desk mats. They’re available in a few different themes, and can be printed and popped onto your students’ desks, either laminated or contacted onto the desk itself. I have goal slips available for reading and writing, maths and personal goals. Some are even editable so you can customise them especially to your students and class!


To help create a classroom of Goal Getters all year long, I have put together a value packed bundle of all my goals resources to help set you and your students up for a year of success and achievement!!

I’d love to hear from you! – How do you go about setting challenging, but achievable goals for your students? Got any feedback on using my goals resources in your classroom?

I’d love to know!


How to set learning goals for students - Miss Jacobs Little Learners

Recent Posts