This post was originally written for and published on KidsDiscover on January 7, 2021!
Celebrating the new year, whether it is in January, the start of the school year, or turning one year older, it is so much fun to set goals. It is important to model how to be a reflective human, set goals, and encourage ourselves to be our best selves!
Here are three ideas to help students set goals for the new year! All three can be used as either digital or analog activities, and are perfect for virtual, blended, and in-person classes.
Have students write a letter to themselves using FutureMe! Students do not need an account and it is free. I have had my students write themselves letters to be delivered at the end of the school year, at the start of the next school year, or even at the start of their senior year of high school.
If students do not have a school email address, have them use your teacher email, then give the student their letter once it arrives to you.
For analog options, have students write themselves a letter, collect them, then return them to students on a specific date. If you have funding available to purchase stamps and have access to students’ current addresses, mail the letters to your students (remember to alert them ahead of time that you will mail this and/or give them the option to opt out–they may want to be more selective of what they write if they think an adult will open it before them).
Have you seen people share their #OneWord on social media? Try this same idea with your students. It’s simple: everyone picks a word that will represent their goals, hopes, and aspirations for the year to come. Many people prefer to use this in lieu of a New Year’s resolution. Use this template with your students as either a digital or analog (print it out for each student–I printed 2 per page to save some paper and cut down on wall space used when hanging them up) activity.
If you’re doing it as a digital activity, have students post their final product on Padlet! For the analog option, it is awesome to hang these up on the wall, in the hallway, or in the windows as a reminder for each student. When I have done this as an analog activity, I pass them back at the end of the school year; it sparks awesome conversations with my students about how their OneWord has represented their year so far.
Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, & Where I’m Going Reflection
Finally, try out this more in-depth reflection activity: Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, and Where I’m Going. I first participated in this type of reflection in college during Resident Advisor training; we used it during a week-long workshop on diversity and inclusion as a way to process what we had learned and what we would learn for the upcoming day. I have repurposed it as my own yearly reflection!
Use this template to have students fill in their own reflection. It pairs well with soothing background sounds (like these ocean waves!) and some deep breaths.
Happy New Year! No matter your teaching situation as you start 2021, remember that you matter to your students!