January is typically the time of year for resolutions and starting over. We’ve all read the articles and blogs expounding ways to lose weight, exercise more, read more, be more fully present, etc. I hadn’t expected to write a follow-up to Here We Go, 2011, but I did in 2014.
As I began to gather my thoughts and energy for the return to school next week, I re-read that post and copies of the third graders who did the real work reflecting on hopes and dreams. Go ahead, read the original post, Here We GoAs we transition back to our routines fresh from a two-week break, it will be imperative we remind ourselves of our guidelines and routines. Of course, we’ll use the Responsive Classroom practices of positive teacher language, interactive modeling and loads of practice. This will happen in classrooms across the country this week. Can you feel the energy of teachers who are willing to invest sometime early in the year to re-establish routines and re-connect with students? The payoff is huge. Really. Consider it an investment.
East into the year by taking the time to reflect collectively and individually. By helping students reflect on their hopes from September and then set some new goals for the remainder of the year, you’re helping them develop the internal motivators for learning, time management skills, and showing them you value their thoughts and goals. It also lets you see how they’ve grown and where you need to help guide them during the rest of your time together.
Need some guidance or encouragement to do dig in and invest the energy to do this with your students? Margaret Berry Wilson shares some beautiful read alouds in her post Revisiting Hopes and Dreams in the New Year. Margaret also explains how to Use Y Charts for Revisiting the Rules. (Be sure to watch the video of Susie Gosh to see how she skillfully facilitates a third grade class discussion on this topic.) Both are inspiring and actionable, no matter what your experience with revisiting hopes and dreams mid-year.
For many, this community-wide approach so this is a familiar January-jumping off point. Even if you’re headed down this road on your own, know that it builds community, lets students know you value them and helps ease that back-to-school transition for all of us.
If you’re a teacher, how do you revisit hopes and dreams in January? And are you signed up to keep in touch? Be sure to check the box in the top right so we can stay connected. And forward this to your teacher friends or share on social media. There’s more good stuff to come in 2016!