The following is a reflection on Lesson 7 of the RD Program that I have started in a Grade 4 classroom at my school. Read more about the program here, as well as my reflections on each lesson:
The purpose of Lesson 7 is for students to reflect on their strengths and challenges based on their multiple intelligences profile from Lesson 2, and to set goals in each of these areas.
The plan for lesson 7 was as follows:
- Read the book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch it, Shape it (by: JoAnn Deak)
- Discuss the importance of setting goals in areas of strength.
- Have students individually set a goal in one of their areas of strength.
- Discuss the importance of setting goals in areas of difficulty, as well as the need for community support in order to achieve these goals.
- Have students set a goal in an area of challenge, and make a plan on how they will get there.
Step 1 was something that I added to the already planned out lesson from the book. I love this book and I felt this would be the perfect opportunity to share it with the class. The book teaches kids about the brain, and without getting too technical, introduces the idea of neuroplasticity and of having a growth mindset. The kids loved the book. It was a bit long though, so next time I would break this into two reading sessions.
Before having the students set goals in their areas of strength, we talked about different famous people and tried to identify their strongest learning smart. I brought up Justin Bieber as having music smarts, but apparently I am behind the times and he is a bit passé now. We discussed Drake (also a musician) instead! We talked about the fact that despite having music smarts, Drake can still set goals and grow in this area. They agreed that he likely worked hard at developing his music smarts throughout his life.
The students were now ready to start thinking about setting a goal in one of their areas of strength. They needed quite a bit of guidance with this part in order to make their goals specific. Some started off with goals such as “get good at math.” I tried to have them hone in on a more specific goal such as “learn multiplication facts up to 12x.”
After this step, we discussed the equal importance of setting goals in our areas of challenge and how it is important to include a support plan for achieving these goals. I directed them to our class profile of smarts as a way for them to find class community members to help them achieve their goals. Again, I had to encourage them to set specific goals and add details to the plan.
This particular lesson seemed difficult for the students and is one that I will be rethinking the next time I run the program. I will be looking to find a better way to support the students in setting more specific and measurable goals.
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.