Words of Intent

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. :)

Wall of Intent 2011

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5 Responses

  1. Personal favorites Words from the class were the Hydration and 2 Procrastinations. Were they intending to put things off till the end of the year? I hope they atleast handed in the assignment at the last minute.

  2. We don’t go back to school until next Monday, so I’m glad I saw this because I’d LOVE to do this with my 8th graders. Thanks, Sarah.

  3. […] very much relieved, we continued with the course of our day with writing our words of intent.  But not before one of the many e-readers jumped up, eager to share their new present with the […]

  4. I do something similar with outgoing fifth graders. We call it “The One Word Project” -students choose one word they want to represent themselves, and they write it on card stock,then we take their photo with their word. I create a video of these photos and we show it at their graduation ceremony. Parents often ask for a copy of the video. I like the word, intent and may have to borrow it to use in my explanation of the project. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  5. Great activity and way to get students to think about what THEY can do for themselves to move their lives forward.

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