Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's Your Sentence? An Exercise in Exploring the Self

 Throughout the school year, I am always trying to find ways to help my students discover themselves, their passions, strengths, and identify the skills that they will need to achieve their lifelong dreams. I know.. a bit lofty, but it's important to take some these initial small steps in 4th grade!

I did this activity with students last January,  and since it went well, and it’s a new year, it's a great time to re-examine goals and ideas about who we want to be.

I showed students this Dan Pink video: What's Your Sentence?

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.
I challenged 4th graders to think and brainstorm about who they want to be in 2012. I asked questions like:” What is something you want to be able to say about yourself?” “What is a quality or an action you want to be known for?”

I also showed them this video clip where Dan Pink invited people all over the world to share their sentences.


Students wrote the sentences you see below and followed up the next day by writing blog posts about why they chose this sentence and what they will need to do to make it happen!  

You can read the students' blog posts on their Kidblogs by visiting here. 
One reason I had them blog about these sentences was to share their ideas and converse with a variety of people about these goals. Feel free to add a comment or ask a question. They love comments on their blog posts!
If you click the picture, you can read the sentences more easily.

Adding the blogging part to this activity helps students refine their statements by talking about how they will achieve their goals, connecting to others who might share similar passions, and creating a positive vision of their future. Providing an authentic, global audience enriches this experience in remarkable ways. One student, upon realizing that someone from New Zealand had commented on her blog, yelled out in class, " Someone from New Zealand read my post!" Powerful stuff for a 4th grader!

How do you help students discover and share their passions and goals?

4 comments:

Tracy Watanabe said...

Dear Joan,

I L O V E this! Love what you did with your students!

I recently charged my Collaboration Coaches with creating digital media to show others one of the following choices: 1) the impact of coaching at their site, 2) Before and after: A study of how coaching improved lesson planning; or 3) How coaches moved from supporting technology to improving student learning.

We'll show their final products in March with the principals, and I was thinking about then showing Daniel Pink's 2 sentences video and ask them what their site's sentence will be next year and have them set goals and a timeline to put it into action.

So, the timing of your post was most excellent!

Thank you for all you do! You are wonderful!

Kind regards,
Tracy

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Tracy,
Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving your thoughtful feedback. I think that this would be an excellent addition to your work with coaches. I am glad that the timing was helpful!
I appreciate all that you share and how we can connect along our separate journeys throughout the school year. Hope to see you face to face sometime in the near future!
Best to you,
Joan

Starr Sackstein said...

What a great activity! My son is in 2nd grade and would really benefit from an activity like this. Although I'm not his "teacher" per se, I'm his most important teacher. So I'm going to try it out. Thanks for the great suggestion.

Joan Young said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, Starr! You are so right that you are your son's most important teacher. I think he will have fun doing this activity and it would be cool to record him speaking it to save for later.