• Nichole LaGrow

Use SMART Goals and Celebrate Small Successes

As we move into middle school, the assignments become longer and more complex. Working with your middle schooler to set SMART goals can help you both break a bigger project into more manageable elements and identify points when you can celebrate small successes.

SMART goals are






When we apply SMART goals to an assignment for a middle schooler, I like to think about the time-bound and achievable elements first. What do I know my middle schooler can realistically achieve in an hour, a day, or a week? I work backwards from that understanding and create specific, measurable, and relevant goals that work towards the bigger project.

For example, if my middle schooler were preparing for a spelling exam, I might ask them to create flashcards of all spelling words on Monday and review those words. On Tuesday, we set aside time to review the flashcards and then quiz what was learned through the review. We might set a goal to correctly spell or define at least a quarter or half of the words and use our math skills to find out what that number is. On Wednesday, we review again and increase the number of words we have as a goal to correctly spell or define. On Thursday we review again and increase the number of words we have as a goal to correctly spell or define yet again.

Those smaller goals throughout the week break a big task into achievable, realistic milestones that we can celebrate throughout the week. Celebrating small successes helps build confidence and reinforces the good study habits your middle schooler is developing.

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