First Day of School and Setting Goals

Today was the first day of school at the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering. We welcomed a new class of 25 seventh graders, while welcoming back the class of 25 eighth graders who started the program last year. We did several introductory activities to get the students back in the school mode, and the central activity was to discuss and have them set their goals for the coming year. Goal setting sounds easy, but it takes some thought to do it right. Ask any student what his or her goals will be for the coming year, and you will likely hear things like, “Get good grades” or “do better in math.” These goals are too vague and lack any measurable way to assess them. What is a “good” grade, and how do you get it? What does “doing better” mean in any class? The eighth graders and I discussed these ideas, and then they set their goals. Both Ms. Garavel, the seventh grade Academy teacher, and I were impressed with the focus and maturity of the goals the eighth graders set. Two paraphrased examples are, “I plan to study at least 30 minutes per night on each class to improve my performance,” and “I want to learn and memorize the Engineering Design Process to do a better job on engineering projects.” No goal is perfect, but for new eighth graders, these goals were outstanding. The seventh graders are in the process of making and revising their goals, so the eighth graders gave them some exemplars they can use. All in all, an outstanding first day of school. Here are photos of each class:

Seventh Grade Academy Students with Ms. Garavel
Seventh Grade Academy Students with Ms. Garavel


Eighth Grade Academy Students with Mr. Holmes
Eighth Grade Academy Students with Mr. Holmes


Author: Bryan Holmes, Physics & Math Teacher, STEM Competition Mentor

Starting at Thomaston High School in Thomaston, Connecticut, in fall of 2018.

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