Creating a Vision
Why do you need vision? A question I ask myself frequently. Vision is what keeps us propelling forward. It keeps us excited, questioning, and passionate about what we are doing. It grounds us. For some of us at the end of the year… we have lost our vision. Whether it is heavy news, exhaustion or feeling invisible, our vision is diminished.
So this month’s beat is not just for your students and a last meaningful writing prompt for them… but this is for you too. I challenge you to try this, remind yourself why you do what you do. May this small little strategy help give you summer’s rest and make for a less overwhelming tomorrow.
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul
When I think about dream boards or vision boards I think of my husband’s office, he’s an architect. I think of materials, research, sketches, words, colors… if I’m honest I also think of T.L.C’s early 2000’s Trading Spaces. Dreaming of what the new space they are designing could be. [Don’t tell my husband I just related his work to Trading Spaces!]
Often when we start something new, like the first few weeks of school, we start with casting a vision. But today I am encouraging you to do the reverse. Start vision planning after finishing the “big project”… with the perspective of the past fresh.
I started this lesson with my students with these questions in their writer notebooks and gave them 5 minutes to write. (I wrote too)
- What worked this year?
- What were your best memories
- What didn’t work?
- When was a time you didn’t get the product you wanted? Why do you think that is?
- Where do you work best?
- What encourages you to get up in the morning?
From there I had my students share some of their thoughts. We created a master list of what worked and what didn’t. For many there were parallels. After a great discussion I asked my students to remember their “one word” from this year. I asked them to find a friend to talk to and discuss if they felt like their one word helped them.
Casting Vision for the Future
With a road map of the year we started talking about looking inward and outward. How can our experiences of the past help pave the way for the future?
This is the fun part.
Neurological studies have shown that physical activity creates strong brain activity. At the end of the year I don’t have time for fluff lessons. I want my students to engage in meaningful activities. They are the last minutes I have with them.
So we get messy.
I pull out all my maker’s space materials.
- Large paper
- Colorful paper
Whatever kids can use to be creative. And then I show my students some examples of vision boards. I tell them that we are going to dream about what next year is going to look like. Let’s take the good and bad from this year and shape what we want the future to look like. I give students an hour to work. To create a vision board. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it can be messy. It’s a rough draft for next year. I remind them… it can be messy.
I encourage students to think about:
- Environmental Preferences
They can use this list to help them create their vision of the next school year.
Digitizing and Such
As students get wrapped up with their mixed material vision boards I show them how they can digitize their thinking. We used Adobe Spark and Canva… but there are so many websites that can help you create a vision board (Pinterest boards..) . After we finished I had them upload their boards with an attached letter to next year’s homeroom teacher. Because if we want the future to look different than we have to come ready with ideas.
It was an activity that gave my students perspective, helped us celebrate and grieve the past, and hope for the future. Of course this lesson could be used at the beginning of the year to cast vision… but hopefully you will try it this way allowing your students to grasp the ending of the school year and the hope of the next.
Rest this summer with the hope for a new vision and 2022-2023 school year my friends.
Please reach out with questions, reflections, and connections in the comments below or on Twitter @Mrsablund. Check out my other articles writing out of the ELA classroom.
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