5 Activities to Help Students Reflect on 2013
2014 is less than two weeks away, but before it arrives, we’d like to share five activities that ask students to take a retrospective look at everything that has happened in 2013. We selected the following activities from a larger list put together by The New York Times, so be sure to stop by their site for 10 more lesson plan ideas.
Rap about the news
The New York Times and Flocabulary have partnered up to create a contest for students. Using this lesson plan and rubric (PDF), they are asking students to write song lyrics that incorporate newsworthy events of 2013. Winning lyricists will be featured on The Learning Network and Flocabulary.com. All student entries are due by Jan. 7, 2014. Students can post their lyrics in the contest comment section by clicking here.
Go back to the future
Imagine that it’s 2038. You’re a screenwriter and a major Hollywood studio has asked you to write a screenplay that takes place in 2013. The genre of your screenplay isn’t important. What matters is that the audience knows that your film is set twenty-five years in the past.
Ask students to write the first page of the screenplay and consider the following: How will the opening scene make it clear to the audience that the setting is 2013? What music, fashions or other visual and aural clues make this clear?
Write a eulogy
The year saw the deaths of many important cultural icons. Visit The Times’s “Notable Deaths of 2013″ page, and choose someone to research and eulogize. Your class can read the eulogies aloud as a tribute to the end of an era.
Say it with images
A quick Google search for “Year in Pictures” will bring up hundreds of images from around the Web. Browse these collections and select five or ten photos that you believe embody the most important events of the year. Now write an explanation for why you selected each photo.
Most of us spend a great deal of time setting goals for our students and telling them what we expect of them—but when was the last time students reflected on their own goals?
Have your students write or type an informal letter to you. Emphasize that the content will not be evaluated for spelling or punctuation. In it they should answer the following questions as honestly and constructively as possible:
- How is this class/this school year going so far for you? Why?
- What activities or classroom procedures worked best in 2013 to help you learn?
- What activities or classroom procedures didn’t work so well in 2013? What could we do to make 2014 better?
- How can I be more helpful to you in the New Year?
Now it’s your turn to respond.