The students enjoyed Silver Packages and were thoughtfully challenged by the question, “Who do you owe a debt of gratitude?”. In past years I have talked about New Year’s celebrations, traditions, and resolutions, and had students write resolutions. This year, when I received an email from ClassDojo titled, The perfect activity to kick off 2017 , I was excited to have the 3-5 students grapple with becoming goal setters. The challenge for students was to set a short-term, 3-6 month goal, one that didn’t have to be school related. It became obvious to me that there were key ideas in my What Do You Think? blog post that I wanted students to hear, believe and ponder.
Knowing that the You Matter message could be difficult for some elementary students to understand, I used examples about my “ability” to jump a distance. Even before I began my journey and while I was on my journey to reach my jumping goal, I was enough, just as I was. I introduced Angela Maiers to the students as my friend and shared with them that even though Angela and I had never met, she has impacted my life through the You Matter manifesto. I showed them my You Matter shirt and began to slowly read the You Matter manifesto to the students, making eye contact around the room and gesturing to them as I spoke. Students had time to read the manifesto to themselves.
We have discussed before “that there is only one you”. I demonstrated that, “Once I move forward, the choice and time to move any other direction are no longer an option for me, at least not in the same way. Each decision, or lack of one, shapes what happens next - what I see, who I meet, what my options are to do next, etc”. Decisions right now affect this afternoon, and that affects tomorrow, etc., culminating into the larger timeframes of life. I shared one thing that all three (3) of my sons can do that isn’t graded - they can get themselves up in the morning without any prodding, which allows more than just to be on time. This will continue to reap benefits for them and I’m sure it will be valued by their employer. Reading from a vast variety of information sources I remembered and shared with students that the act of putting their goal in writing was powerful and the simple act of writing it down increased the likelihood that they would reach their goal. Wish I would have shared that it has to do with our brains.
We went through the ClassDojo goal setting activity and I reinforced that the goal did not have to be school related. I introduced students to the Zero Talent list. I used the example that I was an excellent softball player, but my coach had instructed me not to swing at the 1st pitch. Glancing around the media center, I asked a student from each class to throw me a pitch. You guessed it! I swung. “Was I coachable?” “NO!” We talked about the importance of making their goal measureable, referring back to my jumping example for distance and time to achieve the goal. After a Kagan Think, Pair, Share the students began to write their goal and steps. For the second group of classes - I added the You Matter message on their paper - I wanted them to have a copy of the manifesto with their goal. The You Matter manifesto and the Zero Talent image were available for students to refer to, and many used the concepts in their goals.
The majority of students set goals for sports and school. It was rewarding and exciting to see students incorporate items from the zero talent skills list and to hear them share with each other about their goals, contributions and gifts.
These resonated with me …
My goal is to tell the truth.
Make it through the week.
I need to get better at getting up.
Respect my parents.
Be on(e) time.
I want to get better at building and diesing. (designing)
Thank you, students and Angela Maiers. I am very thankful indeed!