Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Resolutions in the Classroom

Until the past couple years, I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolutions fan – it always seemed like a futile exercise in bandwagonry and historically I’ve always tried to avoid the bandwagon. I acknowledge, however, that avoiding things simply because they are popular is not the most advisable practice, as sometimes things are bandwaggony (yes, I like to make up my own words) for a reason.  Take Game of Thrones, for example. Jon Snow, anyone? 

Anyway! My point is that I’m now jumping on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon. Admittedly, though, the first thing I still think of related to resolutions is the act of making a list of ambitious things you’d like to accomplish in the New Year and then not actually doing any of those things; however, I've realized that resolutions can be pretty meaningful when coupled with the act of self- reflection -- and of course, with a specific plan to hold yourself accountable. 

I created a check-list for my students to write letters to their future selves that outline their resolutions for the coming year. I have them return the letters to me, sealed (either with a staple or in an envelope if I'm feeling fancy) and then I return the letters to them at the end of the year. This has made for great conversation in the past and works well with any type of end-of-year reflection activity.

I like to preface this activity by gauging student’s attitudes about resolutions, and I usually find that many of my students feel the same way I used to/still kind of feel. I then lead into a brief conversation about self-reflection, where most students agree that it’s an important practice for personal, social and academic life. We discuss how often we should be "reflecting" in our own lives and what that actually looks like-- and those responses are always quite interesting. This is a great activity for a language arts class during the week before winter break! :) 

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! 

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