On Sunday afternoon I sat down and started to sketch the upcoming weeks for my freshman class. After having 10 days off, it was difficult to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go before midterms. Plus, I knew that it would take a day or so to get back into the swing of things (for the kids! And maybe for me). I started tweeting about my dilemma and then checked out the English Companion Ning. I was inspired when I found Jo Hawke’s blog post about Words of Intent. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to do it. In the past I have done One Little Word with my middle schoolers, but I wanted to make it a bit more reflective for my advanced 9th graders.
On Monday I ended up having a double period with both of my classes and we spent about 25 minutes on our Words of Intent. I started by having my kids do a quickwrite on New Year’s Resolutions. I asked them to write whatever came to mind when they heard the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” and then we shared some of our thoughts. After discussing why we thought that people tended to “quit” on their resolutions, I introduced the idea of intentions.
After a bit more discussion, I projected a list of intention words on the document camera and asked the students to reflect on the words that stood out them on a personal level. After they chose their word, they took an index card and wrote the word on the front. I allowed them to write their name on the front or back, depending on their comfort level. They also got to decorate the front of the card. Om the back, I asked them to write 2-3 sentences explaining what the Word of Intent meant to them and what they hoped to accomplish in 2011.
It went really well! Even the students who joked around while filling out the card ended up writing serious words of intent and explanations. After class ended, I hung all the words on my closet door, forming a “Wall of Intent”. I plan to keep them there all year, but give them back in June. As I told me students, we will be halfway through 2011 when school ends, so that will be the perfect time to reflect on how we are doing.
And yes, I participated. My Word of Intent for 2011 is Creativity.