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Setting Writing Goals in Writing Workshop

Setting goals is an important part of being a writer, but it can also be a hard concept for students to grasp. It is not always easy to look at your own writing with a critical eye to think about where you can improve, but as much as we celebrate the successes that we see in student writing, we can also teach them to set goals to grow and develop throughout the year. So how can we teach our students to set writing goals, stick to them, and reach them? Let's take a better look at writing goals in the writing workshop..

teaching students to set goals in writing workshop

What are writing goals?

Writing goals are parts of students writing that they would like to see improvement. Students can set their own goals for writing as well as create goals during writing conferences with the teacher.

Writing goals can be behavioral or strategical goals. Students can look closely at their writing habits and skills to work on developing as better writers and with your help, set goals that will take their writing to the next level!

How can students choose a reasonable goal?

Choosing a goal can feel daunting and many times you might find students choosing common goals, due to a lack of knowledge of where they want to be as writers. It is hard for students to imagine what they can improve on and model with mentor text or your own journaling can be a good example to help students work on writing goals.

Students can look at a recent piece of writing and think about behaviors where they struggled; did they remain focused, find a good spot to write, have their materials together, stay organized? Each of these habits affects their writing and setting a successful plan to create writing behaviors helps students focus on habits that will make them better writers.

They can also look at their writing and decide where they could improve. What was difficult as a writer, where did they struggle, how could the writing improve?

Using checklists based on standards for the writing genre can be helpful in setting goals. When students know what is expected in their writing they will be successful. And they can change from one piece of writing to the next. A strategy goal to work on transition words in narrative writing will be different than working on transitions in expository writing.

writing workshop goals anchor chart

Examples of Writing Successful Goals:

  • Writing in complete sentences
  • Using transition words
  • Using proper spelling
  • Adding details
  • Keeping writing organized
  • Including topic sentences
  • Adding dialogue
  • Including an introduction or conclusion
  • Using proper capitalization and punctuation
  • Eliminating run on sentences
  • Focusing on small moments, no irrelevant details
  • Neat handwriting
  • Using proper grammar
  • Focused while writing
  • Materials organized
  • Giving feedback in conferences
  • Building writing stamina
setting goals in writing student notebook pages

Keeping Your Goals

Now that students know what a writing goal is, they've worked hard to create a goal that is meaningful and realistic…how can they work to keep and meet that goal?

  • Write goals down and keep them somewhere students can see and track them.
  • Meet and conference with students to discuss their goals.
  • Check in on student outcomes while conferencing and send them to write with actionable items related to their goals.
  • Keep student goals so that you know them before conferencing and can focus on that part of their writing.
  • Use mini-lessons to teach common goals.
  • Celebrate when students reach their goals and help them set new goals.
  • Allow students to create their own goals as well as goals set together.
writing goals student sheets

Setting goals is such a fun part of writing because it means we are watching our students grow as writers. As you see students creating and then reaching their success, you will see their writing improve too.

You can grab a free starter pack to help your students in the writing workshop!

You can find more writing ideas, tips, lessons, and more in THESE POSTS.

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Happy writing!

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