Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year (a new activity!): New Possibilities

This is me right now:

I'm feelin' good.  It's a new year!  Yippee!  

I've never been much of a New Year's lady because it always feels like just another day...or me.  I'm more of a reflect back kind of girl.  It's amazing how much can change in a year.  In one way, a year flies by...and in another way, last January seems like ages ago.

Resolutions are tricky.  I mean, by January 10th, I've already skipped the gym 9 days (truth.) and eaten my weight in donuts (totally school's fault.).  But I have big plans for this year.  

If you haven't hip-hopped your way over to {OneWord365} yet, get to it!  It is a really great website and blog about picking your one word to focus on for the year.  You can "join your tribe" and connect with others who are focusing on the same word as you.  Or just check it out to see their list of possible word choices if you need a little umph.  The latest blog post is about opening the door.  Figuratively speaking.

I hemmed and hawed over it, but finally decided on...

One of my favorite quotes is from Emily Dickenson: "I dwell in possibility".  The poem lost me after that line but that one line, I love.  

I wanted to try this with my fourth graders.  I knew it would be a little tricky, but we like a good challenge.  

Setting our goals at the beginning of the new year has always been a lackluster activity... The kids write things like:
"To get an A in reading."
"To be really good at soccer."

Boring.  I thought this might be a way to actually make them think about what they want to do.  

We started with this.  I introduced the idea.  Showed them the OneWord365 website (it did get an "Oh cool" from the class, so the website does look pretty impressive to fourth graders!).  We discussed what some possible "one words" could be.  Then I let that thought marinate for a day.  
The next day, I handed out the page below.  I told them to take it home and commit to one word.  Write that word down, and write one sentence on how they would incorporate that word into their family, friends/classmates, school, other adults they know (ie: teachers!), and their faith (I teach at a parochial school).  

I had pretty high hopes that they would take it home and talk about it with their parents.  Most of them seemed to have done that.  Happy teacher.

When they brought it back to school, we put our pre-write into paragraph form.  Then, we wrote our words in HUGE letters and decorated them to hang in the hallway.  

I have little tags to print out and write their word on.  Then I'll plaster it to their desk so that it never comes off and they can look at it all the time.  Adults need this.  I should plaster my word my blog.

I absolutely loved seeing their choices.  All of them were so fitting and were great reflections of each personality.  

Give it a try!  What word would you choose?  What words will your students want to focus on?  I put this activity on TpT- both a faith version, and one without (listed separately).  I'll leave them both **FREE** until Sunday evening, and then they will be just $1.00.  Links are down below.  

Please leave me some feedback if you download and use it!  
I would love to hear what words your kiddos chose!

I hope your year is off to a great start.


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