Happy First Day of School!
Well, for many of you. Some of you have already started and still others have another week of summer left. I spent last week working with teachers in Davenport, Iowa and at the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy in Charlotte, NC in preparation for the launch of the 2018-2019 school year. With each new school year there is a the promise of a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow". To kick off this school year, I hope that you will take a moment to set some goals for yourself and your students. Let's look at one of my favorite ways to go about doing this.
DEAR FUTURE SELF...
While there is really no shortage of goal setting strategies out there for you to choose from, somehow they all seem to fail to live up to what is promised. Like many of you, I have optimistically set goals for the new school year, and then quickly found myself falling back into the same patterns of behavior.
One strategy that has proven at least interesting for me and for my students is the DEAR FUTURE SELF... letter writing activity. Here's how it works.
During the first week of school, have your students take some time to sit down and write a letter to your future self. In this letter you are going to create three sets of goals for your future self.
Next, collect the letters and put them in a safe place where you will be able to find them again. This part is REALLY important! Put a date on your calendar for when you will go back and revisit the letters.
Here are some suggestions.
Check In #1 - October 1st
Check In #2 - January 7th (or whenever you return from break)
Check In #3 - The last week of school
At each check in point, read the letter and reflect on where it is that you are and how you are progressing. I like to have my students write back to themselves. This really helps to promote a positive self-talk and reflection. I hope you will try this out with your students this year and let me know how it goes.
I have always found it to be a really rewarding experience to see my students' expressions when they realize that they have received a letter from themselves in the past. It helps them to see how far they have come and is a great way to introduce them to the power of journaling and reflection.
That's all for today. I am off to mail a stack of Dear Future Self letters to my students from the Spring Semester. I only wish that I could see their faces when they get their letters in the mail. Sure, it is not a letter of acceptance from Hogwarts, but it is almost as magical.
Have a great school year! Thanks for reading.
And now a moment of zen.