Within the next week or two, educators will return to school and greet the smiling faces of the students whom we have not seen since 2019. And with the new year, a new start is often viewed as an opportunity to set new goals or create new habits.
It’s the beginning of a new year and a new decade; 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 time to reconnect with friends and teachers that they haven’t seen for a couple of weeks. Some students are beginning new coursework, attending a new school, or even planning for graduation in a few months.
As a teacher, returning from winter break was always my favorite time to have students write. Students wrote about their dreams, goals, and ambitions, plus, it went perfectly with the start of a new year and helped to build a community of writers!
Here are 3 WritingIdeas to Kick Off the New Year:
- Dream Big – Like a New Year’s Resolution, this writing assignment is filled with questions to consider and write about in hopes that what’s important to them at this moment rises to the top. The Dream Big writing prompt allows students to not only voice what is important to them but identify the steps necessary to accomplish their goal(s) and a timeframe in which to aim.
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?
2. One Word – Instead of having a lengthy dream or resolution, why not have students identify and write about their One Word for the new year. Every year, educators and students alike choose and share their One Word publicly, but where do you start? And How do you help students identify their One Word? Once done, I always had my students create a visual to post on their blogs sharing their #OneWord or #OneWord2020 Here are a few questions to get them writing:
- Reflect on who you were this past year? How would you describe yourself? How would others?
- Identify the type of person you want to be in the new year? What is your aspirational identity?
- Identify the characteristics and qualities of your aspiration or the person you want to be.
- Choose your word. Does it call you to action? Ooze passion? Reflect the person or the characteristic you want to be/portray?
3. Habits – Finally, many argue that resolutions are pointless and are quickly forgotten, and it is habits that we need to focus on. Habit tracking helps people identify the small consistent things they do daily that amount to a larger change.
Habit tracking allows one to make changes in their life that will last a lifetime, not just the first month of January 2020. Using a habit tracking app like Google Keep, Bullet Journals, or even Sticky Notes makes your progress visual and encourages continuation. I mean, who doesn’t like checking off a box on a list or calendar. And if you miss a day or two, habit tracking allows you to pick up your goals the very next day.
As a teacher of writing, I knew the importance of modeling the process for students. When they wrote, I wrote. So be sure to include your own Dreams, One Word, Habits, or Resolutions with your students. And revisit them throughout the rest of the school year, reflecting on progress and where to go to next!
So consider having your students write to start off the New Year. Help them vocalize their dreams and make them a reality! And enjoy your 2020, I know I plan to make this my best year yet! And my #OneWord for 2020 in case you are curious #Value
- Resolution Generator (Something fun to try)