- Review accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned from the past year
- Set goals around personal growth for the upcoming year, and consider strategies that can help achieve these goals
When students engage in reflective journaling, research shows an improvement in their behavior and coping skills, critical thinking, and understanding of their own experiences and emotions. During this activity, educators should encourage students to reflect on the past year, including their accomplishments, emotions, and moments of joy and gratitude, and imagine how they want to grow in the upcoming year. This experience helps reinforce mindfulness, self-awareness, and self-care as students understand their emotions, behaviors, and needs.
To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Distribute the “End-of-Year Reflection” template to each student, and provide time for them to write or draw their reflections on the past year and hopes for the year ahead.
- After students finish journaling, invite them to share some thoughts with their classmates, and ask the following questions to guide the conversation:
• What is something that you feel proud of achieving?
• Can you share about a time when you felt brave? What about a time when you felt happy?
• What was a challenge that you experienced, and how did you overcome it? Who (or what) helped you?
• What is something that you are looking forward to?
• What is something new that you want to learn, or try doing for the first time?
• How will you continue to practice kindness towards yourself, others, and the world around you?
- To extend students’ understanding of others’ experiences, consider how they can share their reflections with an Empatico partner class. For example, create a Flip group where students record videos responding to one of the journaling prompts, or facilitate a live virtual exchange so students can discuss the prompts together.
Encourage students to think about similarities and differences between their responses, and what they can learn about each other’s experiences, values, and goals.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.