Happy New Year! Today feels like a fresh start and a clean slate. I love how the first day back from vacation feels magical and empowering. I enjoy setting New Year’s Resolutions for myself, and I always look forward to setting resolutions with my students.
Today as I head back into my classroom, I am going to begin the week by setting resolutions with my students. I plan to spend about ten minutes each day this week talking about resolutions. My goals are to make sure that my students understand the purpose of setting resolutions and that they set goals that are personalized and achievable. Here are 5 tips for creating reading and/or writing resolutions.
Tip #1) Begin by brainstorming a list of goals. In the past I’ve been guilty of asking my students to create their goals without having a discussion about the purpose of setting goals or what these goals might look like. As a result, their goals were not thoughtful or meaningful. Yikes! Now I know that I need to begin by discussing the purpose of setting resolutions. Together we will create a list of reading and writing goals based on our work in the classroom and what we’ve been learning. (I’ll add a picture of this list at the end of today.)
Tip #2) Partner Sharing. Next, I plan on having my students meet with their reading partners to discuss their work this year, goals they’ve set in the past, and possible goals for the future. I’m a huge supporter of TALK TALK TALK in the classroom. Reading partners know each other best and can help form goals.
Tip #3) Action Plan. I know for myself that I cannot simply state my resolution- I need a plan. Once students have a goal or two in mind, they can create an action plan with one or more of the following sentence starters. “My resolution is…” “I plan to achieve this goal by…” “Each time I ___________, I will _______________.” “In order to achieve my resolution, I will follow these three steps…”
Tip #4) Visibility. Many teachers like to make New Year’s Resolutions bulletin boards or charts in the classroom. I love looking at these on Pinterest and have added some favorite pins below. Making the goals visible on a bulletin board, on the first page of their reading notebook, or on a bookmark is a great way to help students revisit and remember their resolutions and their action plans.
Tip #5) Follow Through & Celebrate. As adults, we all know that the hardest part about setting New Year’s Resolutions is following through and staying on track. You can help your students achieve their goals by setting aside time each week for reading partners to check in on their resolutions, adjust their action plans, and celebrate when they achieve their goals. You can also celebrate one-on-one with your students when you are conferring. Refer back to their resolutions when setting new reading goals. Your students will be excited to celebrate their successes with you.
Looking forward to the ALA Awards next week, Dana Johansen spends her time teaching fifth grade in Connecticut, sitting with her yellow lab on the couch reading YA Lit, and watching the tv show, The Curse of Oak Island. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop. She is the co-author of the books Teaching Interpretation and Flip Your Writing Workshop.