Very soon, many of us will return back to school and greet the smiling faces of our students whom we have not seen since 2017. Granted, the time spent apart is much shorter than a summer break, but brings with it an important sign of starting fresh.
It’s the beginning of a new year; 365 opportunities to dream big and accomplish something new (or something that has been an unreachable goal until this year). For many students, it will be a time to reconnect with friends and teachers that they haven’t seen for a couple weeks. Some students are beginning new coursework, attending a new school, or even planning for graduation in a few months.
As a teacher, it was always my favorite time to have students write. Write about their dreams, goals, and ambitions, plus, it went perfectly with the start of a new year. Creative titles have always alluded me, so I simply called this New Year, Dream Big.
Students (and me, I always modeled and shared my writing with students) used the following questions to help spur their writing:
New Year, Dream Big…
- What are my dreams? In school? Life? Friendship? Activities? Etc. (Identify one to write about)
- Why is this dream important to me? Why did I choose this one?
- Is this a new dream? Old dream? Habitual dream?
- What do I already know or understand about this dream?
- What steps do I need to take to make this happen? Have I already completed or started any of these steps?
- What help do I need to achieve this dream? Who or what can help me?
- What is my timeframe for accomplishing this dream? How will I know I succeeded? When will it be time to give up?
- Closing thoughts and reflections?
At times, these pieces appeared on student blogs or influenced other writing done throughout the semester. Students were proud of their Dreams and shared them with everyone who would listen. And I was proud of them.
So consider having your students write to start off the New Year. Help them vocalize their dreams and make them a reality!
Hat-Tip to Regie Routman and Kelly Gallagher for providing inspiration for this work.