written by Jenna Zemrak, second-grade teacher
Each new year many people set New Year Resolutions in order to kick off the new year with a fresh start. On the first Thursday and Friday back to school, January 2nd and 3rd, second graders were hard at work “Unlocking the New Year” by completing 10 challenges to review math, reading, spelling, and writing content. As they moved down through the 10 challenges, much like we count down from ten to one at midnight, students needed to choose one word that would guide their new year and make it the BEST year yet.
We kicked off this final challenge with a read-aloud of the book One Word for Kids by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page, in which a boy named Stevie doesn’t want to go back to school after summer vacation. His teacher challenges him and his classmates to “discover” their one word that will make their school year even better than summer vacation.
This got my students thinking about what their one word could be. The book advises a series of steps to first, look INTO your heart; second, look UP, and finally, LIVE out your word. The second graders had some great discussions with each other about their ideas and why these words would be important choices. I even overheard students making connections in PE that day about one word that would be important for the skills they worked on in that class as well.
Overall, I do believe that 2020 will be THE BEST YEAR yet, and most importantly we can use these words to guide the remainder of our work in second grade!