Looking for a meaningful way to set goals with your students for the new year? Tired of setting goals for yourself only to fall short because it’s too much to manage? Instead of setting resolutions, pick a word for the year and live by it!
I’m going to teach you all about this fun and engaging new years activity and how to do it with your students!
Word of the Year
So let’s start with what it is. A few years back I was planning for after winter break activities and came across this wonderful idea. You essentially have students set an intention for themselves for the new year using a word instead of a goal.
The reason I like choosing words more than goals is because a word can lend itself to so many things for students. The infamous year of 2020 before life changed forever and schools shut down, I chose the word “perseverance” and boy did I utilize it. I referred back to it often and showed students how I used perseverance even when things got hard.
The words they all chose were very meaningful too. We hung our words up and referred to them often as we thrived for success. So how do you make this activity happen in your classroom?
Words In Action
When facilitating this in your classroom, there are a few things I love to incorporate into this activity. One thing is to read “The Word Collector” by Peter Reynolds together and discuss the importance of words. While reading, create a chart together of all the words you come across in the story that get you excited, make you wonder about something, or make you go “aha”!
After you’ve begun collecting words that stick out to you, you’ll share the importance of this activity and how you will be choosing ONE word to be your word for the whole year. Don’t toss that anchor chart either! Keep it hung up somewhere in your room and use it to collect words you learn together throughout the remainder of the year. Check out ours below!
When students are ready to begin brainstorming their own word for the year, model using this sheet to help students narrow down their focus to choose a word to represent them and their goals. After brainstorming, have students come back together and share about their words they’ve chosen and why it will be their word for the year.
If you have students struggling to choose a word, here are some supports you can provide for them:
- A word list
- Dictionaries, sound/word wall, or other tools to help choose and define words
- Questions to ask to get students thinking about words such as:
What’s a goal you have for yourself this year?
What did you struggle with last year?
What’s something you want to get better at?
What are some things you value or find very important to you?
After all their hard work it’s time for the best part! Making an adorable craft to display around the room or on a bulletin board as a reminder throughout the year to stay focused on our goals. Check out this super cute and easy to make craft below that will show off all their motivating words they chose! Want some digital fun? Create a class wordle of all your new year words together!
Add A Visual Component
New Years is a great time to start fresh and look ahead to the future. Having your one word to help you to keep moving forward is great, but why not add some beautiful images to further evoke that inspiration? Vision boards are an awesome way to set goals, look ahead, and stay motivated. Check out this digital class vision board set below you can create with your students and show off to families.
And if you love adorable writing crafts, you can grab this one for FREE just by subscribing!
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Want more engaging activities to ring in the new year with your students? You’ll LOVE the jam packed New Years Bundle full of fun! Learn more about my favorite ways to ring in the new year HERE!
I hope you enjoyed learning some fun ways to help students set intentional goals for the new year. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Writing Craft FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how-to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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