BMS Counselors' Corner
Jaunuary Newsletter from the Counseling Department
New Year, New You?!?
What is a SMART goal and how do you set one? Let's use the example of getting better grades. Simply saying "I want to get better grades" is hard to measure, and hard to know how and when the goal is attained. SMART goals stand for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, and TIME-BASED.
Looking at the goal of better grades: If we want to make this goal specific, we could say, "I want to increase my math and ELA grades by one letter grade." How can we measure this? We would say, "By my next report card, I want to raise by one letter my math and ELA grades in comparison to my last report card." Next we want to examine if this goal is achievable and realistic. If my grade was a 70 (low C) on the last report card and I have been really forgetful about turning in my homework and bombed a test, is it realistic for me to expect at least an 80 on my next report card? If not, then we may want to change the goal to, "On my next report card I would like to raise my grades by 5 points." Finally, we want to make this goal time-based. We have already set a time for this goal to be completed by the next report card. If we are early in the 9 weeks, this may seem too far away, and we may want to narrow the goal even more to "by interims".
Breaking large goals down into manageable components makes them more likely to be achieved. Parents, how can you help your student set smart goals? Sit down as a family and talk about goals you have as a unit, and individual goals each of you want to achieve this year. Use the SMART acronym to examine each goal and work together to make sure the goals are specific to each family member, measurable (remember, how can you measure "get healthy"?), achievable, realistic (is your family really going to get up at 6:00 am every Saturday and go running together?!?), and time-based (you must have some time at which you end the measurement or it is easy to lose track of your goal).
Feel free to stop by the counselors' offices anytime if you would like more information or help in setting SMART goals!
What Happened to Text Books?
We hear a lot of frustration from parents about finding information to help students study, especially for math. Parents often long for a textbook to flip to a chapter and show how to work a problem, or find a definition. This is how we learned, and how we feel comfortable helping our children. Unfortunately for us, this is not how are children are used to learning. This can make homework time very stressful.
When I (Mrs. Little) was in undergraduate school we relied heavily on textbooks. I would spend hours in the library doing research for papers and projects. Merely 8 years later I returned to graduate school and everything had changed. I never once had to go to the library. All the materials I needed for research were at my fingertips on my home computer. Not many of my classes had textbooks anymore. My professors had most of our reading assignments as links to articles listed on the course webpage. I tell you this because I have heard parents say their children aren't going to be prepared for college because they won't know how to navigate textbooks. I believe most educations institutions are moving or have moved to the digital medium. We do have textbooks in some of our classes and teachers are teaching students how to take notes, highlight passages, and study.
A textbook is written by one person, group of people, or organization. When using digital media, students get many perspectives of one topic. Think about how many ways there are to talk about Christoper Columbus! I am not trying to persuade anyone that one way of learning is better than another, but am trying to give some perspective to that question of what happened to textbooks. Below is an interesting link to an article on the topic. The two links below that provide resources for parents who are struggling with where to find information to help their children with homework.