With the start to any New Year comes a time for resolutions. Returning from Christmas break is the perfect time to use a classroom activity to teach your students how they can reflect upon the past year and prepare for a new, fresh start. Use this classroom activityinvolving writing to help your students make their New Year’s Resolutions this year.
Classroom Activity: Introduction
To begin, ask students if they have ever made a New Year’s resolution before, and if so, did they keep it? For the students who have never made a resolution for the New Year, talk about how the word resolution came from the word “resolve.” Talk about how a resolution is like a promise that you keep for yourself. Then, discuss how each year people make resolutions for themselves, but oftentimes they end up being too challenging to keep, so they give up on them. Explain that it’s important to make a positive resolution that they think they will be able to follow through with.
Once they understand the concept, model a few resolutions of your own (start exercising, read a book a week, watch less TV, etc.). Next, have students brainstorm a few together as a class. They may come up with resolutions like stop fighting with their siblings, or be more helpful at home. Make sure that you remind students to not choose something that is too outrageous, and remind them that their goal is to make a resolution that they know they can keep.
Once students have a list of the resolutions that they think they want to try, have them narrow that list down to three. They should make one resolution for their own personal improvement (resolve to eat healthy), one that has to do with their family or friends (resolve to not fight with their sister), and one that has to do with school (to learn all of their multiplication facts).
Now that students have their three resolutions (or promises to themselves) that they know they will be able to keep, it’s time for them to write a five-paragraph essay about these New Year’s resolutions. Included in this essay should be the following:
- First paragraph is to introduce the topic to their audience.
- Second paragraph is talk about the personal improvement promise that they made to themselves.
- Third paragraph is discuss the resolution that has to do with their family or friends.
- Fourth paragraph is where they will describe the promise that they made to themselves about school.
- The fifth, and final, paragraph will restate the topic and sum up the whole essay about resolutions.
This is the most critical stage in the writing process and oftentimes the hardest for students. Students need to read and re-read their essay, and ask themselves “Does it sound good?” and “Does it make sense?” Here are a few guidelines to help students during this crucial stage.
- Look at the first paragraph and ask yourself if the topic sentence is interesting. If not, how can you make it more interesting to the reader?
- Look at the meat of your essay which is the three middle paragraphs. Does each paragraph explain to the reader what your resolution is and why you are making it?
- Look at your ending paragraph, did you restate and sum up your essay?
- Take a look at all of the sentences, is everything spelled correctly? Are all of the sentences complete?
Once students have made of their revisions, they can now type their final project on the computer and print it out. Post these New Year’s resolution essays on the bulletin board in the classroom as a daily reminder of their promises to themselves for the New Year.
Make sure that you take a few moments of your day with your students to look back on the year that just passed. Talk about the learning goals that they have achieved since the start of the year, and talk about what they are going to achieve by the end of this New Year.