School as we know it is no longer the same since the beginning of 2020. Remote learning has created a new dynamic but also challenged children to become self-disciplined. Parents and teachers must help students understand time management and make goals to see success with virtual learning. The best way to create objectives for any age is with the SMART method, but it only works when you know what it is and how to use it.

SMART Goal Setting

SMART goals are goals that fit into the S.M.A.R.T mold. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. This means children will be directed to make specific goals that are bound by a set timetable. They will be achievable, relevant to the ultimate goal, and progress can be measured. You want to make sure you know exactly what you are wanting to achieve and why. Graduation is a good ultimate goal, with smaller goals made to make it there. If a person cannot feel progression, they will struggle to stay on task.

Here are a few examples of poor goals for each acronym:

  • I am going to be happy. (There is no specific task to make this achievable)
  • I will increase my savings each month. (There is no measure to determine if it has been obtained)
  • I will work 40 hours a week while in school full time. (This is not an achievable goal for a high school student)
  • I will apply for colleges while in middle school to get a head start. (This goal is not relevant for a middle school child)
  • I plan to have a savings account with $2000. (There is no time limit set for this goal)

The following are 5 SMART goal examples for students of any age.

1. During the first week of school, I will meet with my teachers for 10 to 15 minutes to build a relationship for the year.

This goal is specific on exactly what the child will be doing, for how long, and why it is important. The student can measure success by meeting with each teacher.

2. I will review weekly schedules on Sunday, so I know what is due and what I need to be prepared for class.

Learning time management is vital for success, and this goal touches on how to be successful with that life skill. The student understands that they will set time aside each Sunday to see what needs to be done to have a successful week, without becoming overwhelmed at the end of the week.

3. I will demonstrate my typing abilities by the end of school by having a typing speed of 70 words per minute, with at least a 90% accuracy rating. This goal will be obtained by practicing typing 15-20 minutes a day.

Typing is a life skill that is necessary for most jobs. This goal may not be relevant or achievable for children in grade school. However, it is attainable by teenagers. There is a timeline set for measured success.

4. In hopes of achieving a score of 21 or better on the ACT, I will spend 45 minutes every day working on practice questions for three months before my test date. I will measure my success with a practice test every other week.

The ACT is one of the most important tests a student will take in their high school career. This goal will have a student set time aside preparing, but with a select amount of time preventing burn out. In addition, it is achievable, and the time is set as soon as the test dates are announced.

5. I will be early to school to give myself time to socialize and organize my supplies for the day. I will achieve this by preparing my clothes and backpack the night before and waking with my alarm so I can make it to the bus stop on time.

This goal is specific and set for the school year time span. The student knows how it can be achieved, and success is measured by being on time. *During remote learning, this can be amended to be ready early enough to chat with peers on messengers before class starts*

Concluding Thoughts

Learning how to set SMART goals at a young age is a ticket for success throughout life, regardless of what you are working towards. It is easy for children to become overwhelmed with large tasks, especially when they are required to be held accountable for completing virtual classwork. By using these smart goal examples for students, a child will learn how to prevent failure and build their self-confidence.