Ringing in the New Year With Your Students
I am looking forward to my holiday break and also to the new year ahead! I am expecting my second child in March, so 2010 will be an exciting year for my family! The beginning of a new year can also be the perfect time to help your students reflect on the time you have spent together so far and make resolutions for the rest of the school year. In my classroom I have students create New Year's resolutions that we keep in a time capsule until the end of the school year.
READ ON to learn more about our New Year's Resolution Time Capsule, and also to find out what new topics I will be blogging about in 2010!
New Year's Resolution Time Capsule
When students come back from break, it can be difficult to get them refocused after the excitement of the holidays. For this reason, I treat January as a new beginning. I hit up the party supply store immediately after New Year's Eve to find party hats on sale (often 50% off). When my students come back to school in January, they each find a party hat on their desk. My students and I reflect on and celebrate what we have accomplished so far in the school year, and then we make plans for the rest of our year together.
Part of our plan includes the students making resolutions. I start my lesson by asking students, “What is a resolution?” They soon learn that a resolution is a promise that you make to yourself. I then read aloud some of the resolutions made by my students in previous years. This gives my current students some specific ideas about making resolutions. I follow this up with a discussion about how there are different kinds of resolutions.
Finally, students complete a worksheet that I created, "My New Year's Resolutions." It asks them to make two PERSONAL resolutions, two resolutions that involve FAMILY OR FRIENDS, and two resolutions that involve SCHOOL. Students share their top two resolutions with the class before we put them in our “Resolution Time Capsule” (see picture below). I decorate a shoebox with New Year’s Eve decorations and have each student ceremoniously place their resolutions into the box. I explain to the students that we will not open the box until the end of the year to see if we have accomplished our goals. When the end of the year comes around, students are given their resolutions from the box and are asked to write a reflective piece of writing about how far they have come or what things they might still need to work on. This is the final piece of writing that is placed in their third grade portfolio.
In other years, I have had students use The Print Shop in our computer lab to create posters on which they type their resolutions (see picture below). This is nice because the final posters can be used to create a bulletin board in your classroom where students are reminded of their resolutions every day.
How do you kick off the New Year with your students? Please share your ideas!!
Stay Tuned: Topics for My Upcoming Posts
When I return to blogging in 2010, here are some topics you can expect to read about:
Movie-Making in the Classroom: Tips and Strategies for Success
Establishing an Effective Classroom Economy
To Typing Camp We Go: Making Keyboarding Instruction Fun
Classroom Management in the Writing Workshop