New Year Lessons to Promote Reflection

It’s a new calendar year! Same students, many of the same pandemic struggles, but also a new beginning in many ways. I remember I used to say to my 5th graders during our January return to school, “Welcome back future 6th graders, this is the year you will become a middle schooler. I know you will blow me away with a new found maturity. And what fun we'll have challenging ourselves this second half of the school year.” Then we would reflect on our vacation as a community and revisit academic goals. January always felt fresh and new! I’m not quite sure what my 2021 approach would be -- in fact, I would probably spend more time pausing, reflecting, and re-engaging as a community. I’m sure many students have missed those daily zoom calls as their opportunity to ‘see’ classmates and socialize. As the teacher, we want to provide meaningful lesson ideas to facilitate those higher level engagement practices. Studying the past, present, and future is a lifelong skill. 


We hope these HyperDocs promote thought-provoking moments for you and your students. Once you FILE>MAKE A COPY, please remember to always check the lesson for age-appropriateness, links, etc. We encourage you to remix these lessons and adapt to your own classroom needs.

ONE LITTLE WORD. Many years ago we stopped teaching New Year Resolutions, and instead created this HyperDoc based on the One Little Word concept by Ali Edwards. The results have been life changing for us, and we hope that you and your students might also appreciate this shift! The emphasis is placed on word choice/meaning and sets a tone for the year on how best to move through life centered on a focal word. The many different versions of this original HyperDoc are shared below. These can be adapted for any age - you will want to use them with adults, too! What will be your word for this year?

HINDSIGHT 2020. This HyperDoc by Nadine Wilkison is a great way to get any learner actively naming the strengths and challenges of 2020. You’ll love the design of the slides and will want to use this lesson right away!   

OPEN LETTER. I see this HyperDoc as a chance to get students writing many of their current thoughts about the state of the world and social affairs. This structure invites a student writer to share frustration, disgust, gratitude, hope, and other feelings that have surfaced. Ideas for current topics might include: 
Dear 2020, 

  • Dear Health Care Workers, 
  • Dear Essential Workers, 
  • Dear Those Who Are Grieving, 
  • Dear Social Justice, 
  • Dear Pandemic Schooling, 
  • Dear Family Members that I Miss, 
  • Dear Neighbor, 

COMMUNITY BUILDING CONNECTORS. In a previous blog post we shared lessons and ideas on how to continually build community and check in with learners. Time away from school, and returning to the structures can lead students to different emotions -- some are grateful to be back and others will struggle to re-adjust. This collection of 5 minute connectors might help you reconnect with learners and remind them that they matter more than the content. 

WONDER SPARKS. Just because we all need Brad Montague’s perspective and optimism in our curriculum, and scattered throughout our school week.  *These are not HyperDoc lessons, but we love them and wanted to share! 

These HyperDocs can all be found curated on THIS WAKELET COLLECTION.

What are some of the ways that YOU are re-energizing students and sparking reflection in your classrooms? Comment below!

Author: HyperDocs Admin 05-01-2021

Comments (1)

  • Generic placeholder image
    Thanks for all the ideas, and for sharing my AVID
    Thanks for all the ideas, and for sharing my AVID remix- I’m just receiving all the beautiful Canva graphics from my inspiring!
    Author: Jennifer Wolfe 12-01-2021