For Teachers

Teaching by Topic: Goal Setting

Here are a bunch of tips, learning objectives, worksheets, and pre-built lesson plans to help you build your curriculum to teach students how to set goals!

classroom-with-teacher-preparing-lesson-plan

Student goal setting is a critical skill. It is essential in all subject areas but particularly for money education.

You can find the materials you need to teach student goal setting, regardless of your students’ levels. Here are lessons, worksheets, activities and games, and some tips –  by grade. You can also find learning objectives for each grade.

National Standards for Personal Finance Education

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Our free cheat sheet covers every learning objective in the National Standards for Personal Finance Education and the corresponding Kids' Money Lesson Plans - we cover each and every standard!

Pre-K

Learning Objectives

Pre-K students understand basic vocabulary relating to goals. They should be able to:

  • Define and describe what a goal is.

Some activities to help your pre-K students include:

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to Pre-K Students

  • Generalize the idea of goal setting, so they understand it can apply to anything in life.
  • Use games and songs often.
  • Show them how small a goal can be.

For more resources on other topics, check out our Pre-K Money Lesson Plans Center.

Kindergarten

Learning Objectives

Your Kindergarten students learn about goals in general. They should be able to:

  • Name a goal and suggest steps to reach it.

Kindergarten Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • Kindergarten – Goal Setting for Kids: This lesson plan has activities that kids complete to formulate goals and objectives. It incorporates reflection and hands-on procedures to teach students.

Kindergarten Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to Kindergarten Students

  • Focus on the positive feelings they have when they reach a goal.
  • Set up easy money math goals kids can reach.
  • Reward students for reaching goals.

For more resources on other topics, check out our Kindergarten Money Lesson Plans Center.

1st Grade

Learning Objectives

1st-graders learn about goals and wishes. They should be able to:

  • Set a SMART goal with assistance.

1st Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 1st Grade – My Goal Setting: In this lesson plan from careers portal, students learn the difference between wishes and goals. They also identify how to set a specific and measurable goal.

1st Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 1st Graders

  • Remind students about SMART goals and how to make them.
  • Use reflection often.
  • Show them how to set goals with their classroom money.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 1st Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

2nd Grade

Learning Objectives

2nd graders deepen their understanding of how to set goals in detail. They should be able to:

  • Break down goals into segments and various timelines.

2nd Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 2nd Grade – Goal Setting: In this lesson from Ms. Winter’s Bliss, students set goals with timelines and incremental objectives. They also see how to turn weaknesses into strengths through small steps to improve.

2nd Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 2nd Graders

  • Work with kids on setting achievable goals.
  • Show them that larger goals can have smaller objectives along the way.
  • Begin self-analysis to correct mistakes and improve goal setting.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 2nd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

3rd Grade

Learning Objectives

3rd grade students learn to prioritize goals and break them into different time frames. They should be able to:

  • See how smaller steps and objectives connect to reach larger goals.

3rd Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 3rd Grade – Setting Goals: This lesson plan from uen.org has students define goals and differentiate between short-term, long-term, and lifelong goals. They also watch how plans and goals move forward and reflect upon their learnings.

3rd Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 3rd Graders

  • Have students create goals and milestones with different timeframes.
  • Use role-play frequently.
  • Have students partner up and discuss goals.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 3rd Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

4th Grade

Learning Objectives

Your 4th-grade students learn how to take goal setting skills across all subjects within money education. They should be able to:

  • Use goal-setting strategies to formulate goals in saving, spending, and budgeting.

4th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 4th Grade – Goal Setting: This lesson from ASCA provides opportunities for kids to become independent, increase challenge levels of goals, and set consistent goals. They also improve problem-solving strategies to make better decisions.

4th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 4th Graders

  • Have kids incorporate money and money math into goal setting.
  • Set school goals along with personal and money goals.
  • Include parents in the process.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 4th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

5th Grade

Learning Objectives

5th-grade students dive into personal finance as they make goals. They should be able to:

  • Take their goal-setting strategies and apply them to theoretical financial situations.

5th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 5th Grade – Goals: This lesson plan from brownbagteacher.com includes multiple rewards for students as they complete the goal-setting activities. Students can choose their reward for meeting their goals and reflect on the process.

5th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 5th Graders

  • Reinforce their SMART goal strategies.
  • Have them reflect on their success in elementary and make goals for middle school.
  • Role-play different careers and goals to get there.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 5th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

6th Grade

Learning Objectives

6th-grade students get more detailed in goal setting and break down plans into many steps. They should be able to:

  • See how the steps connect to reach their goal and reflect on their decision-making.

6th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 6th Grade – Goal Setting: This lesson from coloradoedinitative.org shows students how to identify a goal and make an action plan to reach it. It also includes a reflection component, so they write down what they learned.

6th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 6th Graders

  • Show kids multiple careers and how to obtain them.
  • Have kids use goal setting in budgets and career planning.
  • Use goal-setting tactics in all subjects to practice the method.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 6th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

7th Grade

Learning Objectives

7th-grade students are into more complex money education topics, and can set money-specific goals more quickly. They should be able to:

  • Verbalize their goals, objectives, and needs so they can reflect on their decisions.

7th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 7th Grade – Setting Goals: In this lesson plan from xap.com, students see the importance of setting goals. They also list good habits and make a short-term goal about one of them, reflecting on when they reach it.

7th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 7th Graders

  • Use groups of various sizes. This teaches goal setting while practicing giving and taking criticism.
  • Be more practical with goals, like job and career objectives.
  • Have students present their goals to the class to work on public speaking and accountability.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 7th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

8th Grade

Learning Objectives

8th-grade students begin to plan their future after high school, and goal setting can help them in their path. They should be able to:

  • Use SMART goals proficiently to create plans.

8th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 8th Grade – Goal Setting for Your Future: This lesson from counselingessentials.org has students review SMART goals and play games where they interact. Then, kids play a game of Classroom Feud to cement their understanding of goal setting.

8th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 8th Graders

  • Focus on SMART goals, as they will need to have them down in high school.
  • Start goal setting on Day 1.
  • Give kids class time to work towards individual goals.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 8th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

9th Grade

Learning Objectives

9th-graders work on personal habits, including creating financial goals. They should be able to:

  • Make short-term and longer-term goals for saving and budgeting.

9th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 9th Grade – Growth Mindset: In this lesson from mindsetworks.com, students see how having a growth mindset can lead to achieving goals. They complete a task analysis to learn about their strengths and needs during the planning process.

9th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 9th Graders

  • Review progress towards goals often.
  • Use hands-on financial activities to show how goals apply.
  • Have them prioritize goals.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 9th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

10th Grade

Learning Objectives

10th-grade students work on high school objectives and college goals alike. They should be able to:

  • Break down goals into steps, identify weaknesses in the plans, and provide solutions.

10th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 10th Grade – Goal Setting: This lesson from coloradoedinitiative.org shows students how to set specific goals and develop plans to meet them. They identify problems and reflect upon their decisions.

10th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 10th Graders

  • Show them how goals can apply to any financial situation.
  • Explain how adults make goals to pay back loans and credit cards.
  • Give students time to research often.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 10th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

11th Grade

Learning Objectives

11th-grade students focus on budgets and personal finances and how to set related goals. They should be able to:

  • Create a personal financial plan with several measurable goals they can work towards.

11th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 11th Grade – Goal Setting: This lesson plan from healthbeet.org shows students how making goals can help improve their lives and keep them focused. They learn that writing down goals holds them accountable.

11th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 11th Graders

  • Have guest speakers emphasize the importance of setting goals.
  • Include counselors to keep them on track with progress.
  • Focus on decision-making and its role in goal setting.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 11th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

12th Grade

Learning Objectives

12th-grade students are ready for the next step, whether that is starting college or a career. They should be able to:

  • Set SMART goals for one year, five years, and ten years from now.

12th Grade Goal Setting Lesson Plans

  • 12th Grade – Goal Setting: In this lesson from rmc.org, students identify areas of growth and create goals to address their needs. They also make long-term goals and reflect on how they set goals.

12th Grade Goal Setting Worksheets, Games & Activities

Tips for Teaching Goal Setting to 12th Graders

  • Give students specific areas to set goals in, such as cars, housing, or college.
  • Have them use daily, monthly, and annual calendars to plot progress.
  • Conference with them frequently and have them reflect on goal setting.

For more resources on other topics, check out our 12th Grade Money Lesson Plans Center.

About the Author

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is a National Board Certified teacher with over two decades of experience in the classroom. He loves working with students of all ages in many subjects, but particularly in practical areas like money education, to help kids achieve their goals. When he is not teaching or writing about financial literacy, you can find him surfing, hiking, skiing, or traveling to new places.

Last updated on: August 10, 2022