Strategies for Students in Goal Planning: A Lesson Plan on Setting Goals for Middle School

Page content


This lesson plan will teach students how to set goals for themselves both personally and academically. Students will set goals and learn to break them down into manageable tasks; daily, weekly, monthly. Students will evaluate their own progress and readjust tasks as is necessary.


Teacher should be prepared with ideas of goals that students may have. Be prepared to see goals in everyday wishes of students.

Teacher should also have examples of ‘popular’ and famous people who their class admires and the goals that these people have had or now have. This link is to grab their attention and stimulate their interest in goal setting. Show them that people they admire also set goals.

Teacher should provide or have students bring in a notebook or journal to track goals for the entire school year.


Goal setting will be two class periods with weekly and monthly evaluations and updates.


Begin class with a discussion of goals. What goals are, what are some goals of the your own, what are class goals. Relate the discussion to famous role models. For example:

  • What was Obama’s goal?
  • What was Al Gore’s goal?
  • Local football team goals?
  • Discuss other sports teams’ goals.
  • Musician goals?

Connect with the students to show that everyone has goals. Relate to people they may admire and discuss the goals they must have had in reaching their current status.

Discuss with the class what some of their goals are. Illustrate that there are goals for the day, week, month, year and even longer (college, career, etc.).

Provide the class with the goal notebooks (or have them take these out.)

  • Ask the class to record a few of their goals and ask them to think about long-term and short-term goals.

  • Ask them to create a list of 5 short-term (day, week) goals and 5 longer term goals (month, year, years).

Circulate and assist students here. Point out how we all have goals everyday; get to school, watch a show, get together with friends, finish an assignment or project.

First begin working on short-term goals. Ask the students to share a few. Record for class to see; break this goal down into steps or tasks. For example, if a student has a goal as watching a TV show at 5:00pm then tell the steps will be needed to reach that goal. Finish school, get the bus, do homework first, complete chores at home, etc.

  • Instruct students to take their 5 short-term goals and create a list of steps to reach them.


Finish class with sharing of goals and steps created. Talk about why it’s important to have goals and know the steps to take to reach them.


For the next class have students create the same list of steps but this time for their long term goals. This will take more time and thinking. From a long term goal, have them create steps that break down into monthly, weekly and daily activities to reach those goals. Ask them to create a list for each day (or every few days), week or month. Each week have the students check their goal lists and evaluate their procedure.

You should make this a regular part of the school week. It’s important to not just set the goals and list the steps but to actually follow through. You must keep up on this to teach this vital point. As goals are reached have students make new ones and steps to reach each. Schedule class time to discuss goals that are being achieved, what worked in steps, what to change, etc.

You may want to create an overall class goal(s) and use this as an ongoing example.

This post is part of the series: Help Your Students Set Future Goals & Plan for Careers With These Lesson Plans

It’s never too early for students to think about what they will do once their graduation cap is tossed in the air and high school is behind them. Help your students prepare for and think about their future with these lesson plans meant to motivate and inspire.

  1. Help Your Students Reach For the Stars With a Classroom Goal Tree
  2. Project for Middle School Students to Research Careers
  3. A Lesson on Goal Setting for Students: A Vital Skill for Success