Reflecting on the Past Year and Setting Goals for the New One
Rachelle Dene Poth Author Photo

Rachelle Dené Poth

Reflecting on the Past Year, and Setting Goals for the New One

January 3, 2023


The start of a new calendar year is the perfect time to reflect and set new goals for learning and growing. Reflection and goal setting helps us better understand our specific learning needs and decide on the next steps in our learning journey. Consistent reflection on our experiences and setting clear and meaningful goals help with social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Through reflection and goal-setting, we increase self-awareness, build resilience when working through challenges, amplify our learning potential and impact future success. Reflecting on our experiences helps learners to identify patterns in their behavior and recognize areas where they may need to make changes or set new goals. What better time to do this than in a fresh new calendar year! 

Rachelle's goalsRachelle's goals


Four ideas for reflection and goal-setting

Not everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves in the same way, which is why it's important to have different options available for engaging in the practice of reflection.

Not only will we help them build their skills, become self-aware and develop a greater understanding of their interests and needs, but we will also provide them with learning experiences that will benefit them in the future regardless of where their education takes them or which careers they pursue later on in life

We can find many ways to reflect on our learning and experiences we have. Some common practices for reflection include journaling, collaborative learning experiences, or even participating in a reflective activity focused on mindfulness. 

My Smart GoalsMy Smart Goals




SMART goals are helpful in that students learn to identify specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives for learning. When we set clear and meaningful goals, it enables us to better focus our efforts, engage more in learning and as a result, become more motivated. Another benefit is that by setting goals, we are able to identify and work through challenges that may arise and track our progress. Sometimes it is important to set smaller, manageable tasks to help students to build skills in self-awareness and self-management. Students can then select a method for tracking their progress along their learning journey. 

PG Article, Setting GoalsPG Article, Setting Goals

Example goals: 

Academic goals such as getting good grades, improving test scores, or mastering a particular subject. 

My Goals this YearMy Goals this Year


Personal development goals such as developing good study habits, better time management skills, or becoming more organized.

Career-related goals such as exploring different career options by exploring some of the careers and people highlighted in PebbleGo! 

My Balanced Day Lesson PlanMy Balanced Day Lesson Plan


Physical or mental health goals focused on improving physical fitness and healthy eating habits, learning how to manage stress, or even working on getting enough sleep. Check out the lesson plans for health on PebbleGo!  

PebbleGo Goals ScreenshotPebbleGo Goals Screenshot




The start of a new year is the time to set new goals for many. While some may decide to choose a focus or  “One word” for the year, or perhaps create a vision board, these are great options to reflect on past experiences and set new goals for 2023!  You can use Buncee and PebbleGo Create with students to provide a template and open up many choices in what students create and how they share what they are thinking and setting for their goals! 

Vision BoardsVision Boards


Reflection and goal setting are ongoing processes that can help us grow and consistently improve. By regularly reflecting on our experiences and setting clear and meaningful goals, we can increase our self-awareness, build resilience, and improve our chances of success.



Blogging is a great way to share learning, express challenges, share positive thoughts, or for personal use as reflections. Incorporating blogging into the classroom is also good for students for many reasons beyond just simply enhancing their writing and literacy skills. Daily journals are a great option for students. Provide students with a prompt related to the content area, a current event, or something to push their thinking and have them free write for five to ten minutes. Have students work through the lessons available with PebbleGo and then write a response to their learning experience and questions that they may have.


Learning Reflections

Ask students to use PebbleGo Create to share what they have learned, what they enjoyed, and what they may have struggled with. Focusing on these areas can help students to better process and reflect on their learning. They can also collaborate with peers and share their creations and in the process, develop social awareness as they see things from a different perspective and gain new insights. Another idea is to create a timeline of 10 big ideas learned this year in their classes or a highlight from each of their classes. They can add audio or video, stickers or animations to represent their ideas. Another fun option would be to set goals using a Time Capsule. They can set some goals and store them in a time capsule and then open it and reflect on their progress! 

Time CapsuleTime Capsule



Reflection helps students to develop critical thinking skills, as it involves analyzing and evaluating what happened and considering different perspectives. Students will be better able to make more informed decisions in the future and improve their problem-solving abilities.


In addition, reflection can help us all to process and make sense of complex or challenging experiences, which can lead to personal and emotional growth. It can also help to identify patterns in your behavior and thoughts and make changes that will improve your well-being.