Alternatives to Writing New Year's Resolutions

New Year, New Me. Right? I mean, all the intentions are there to exercise more, lose those extra pounds, read more, budget better, and the list can go on and on. However, I am bored with writing resolutions, and so are my students. I feel students have written their goals and resolutions so often it’s not as purposeful anymore. So I am writing a list of alternatives you can do in your classroom this year! 

Declaration/Break-Up Letter: 

This one is my favorite! The Declaration of Independence is actually a huge break-up letter. We do a little research on the Declaration and tie it back to a break-up letter. Then I have the students write a break-up letter to something or someone. (I make it VERY clear this is meant to be fun, and no student names or representations are to be done). They choose their topic and compile a list of grievances they have. I give them a basic format. Check out some student examples here

Vision Board: 

I know this is similar to resolutions, but it is a way for students to express themselves differently. On their vision boards, they can put words and pictures of things they want to achieve this year, goals, or simple reminders for themselves. I have students do this online on Canva so I can print them. As a reminder for the rest of the school year, I allow them to hang them up in their lockers.

Bucket List: 

This is a fun way to compile a list of everything you want to accomplish this new year. It is so fun to see how similar and different our students are!

Research other types of Celebrations: 

There are so many awesome celebrations worldwide similar to New Years. Have the students research why we celebrate ours the way we do and look into other similar celebrations and how they celebrate. Challenge the student to find the oddest or quirkiest celebration for New Years! 

Read or Listen to poems for the New Year:

I like to do this at the end of the day to wind down. The students just sit back and reflect as we listen to the poems. You can change this to however you want it to fit in your classroom. Here is a short list of poems!

Poems for the New Year

“The New Year” by Carrie Williams Clifford

“New Year’s Eve in Addis” by Kwame Dawes

“Counting, This New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain To Me” by Jane Hirshfield

“The Leash” by Ada Limón

“The New Decade” by Hieu Minh Nguyen

“Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

“Elegy in Joy [excerpt]” by Muriel Rukeyser 

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith

What activity do you love to do when the students come back from the long break?

by Erin-Jane Stevens, Contributing Teacher/Writer. Erin-Jane Stevens is a middle school ELA teacher who strives to bring excitement to each class she sees.  She continues to find and create fun, new, and rigorous ways to captivate students’ attention and grow their love for ELA.

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