Because we are on a block schedule, when we start our new semester of classes, its just like starting the year over; fresh and exciting, with new schedules and new students. Its a great little boost to the school year, as you realize that these are the students you will be with until the year is over.
I like to start the new semester with a warm up project for all 7-12th grade students. Its very short and non-threatening, but it sets the mood for the class. We actually did this a few weeks ago, but it was a successful little beginning project and I wanted to share.
For the last few years, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I have started the year by choosing a word I would focus on for the whole year. It was generally something I wanted more of in my life, or something I wanted to work toward. I decided this would be a great thing for my middle and high school students to do also. They could focus only on the new semester, or, since it was only mid-January, they could use the word for the whole year. I showed them this video to give them word ideas.
I asked them to create a small artwork around their word. These pieces were only 4 inches square, so it did not take long, but it generated a lot of discussion within the class and gave us a little glimpse into each other’s minds and souls. (I shared mine also.) I did not require them to explain why they chose their word, but many shared as they worked. This is exactly the kind of class atmosphere I’m always trying to encourage, so it was successful on many levels.
I created a bulletin board with all of the finished works.
Projects like this are fun to display because they invariably make the viewer think…asking the question: “What would your word of the year be?”