New Year's Resolutions!

Setting Goals

I’ve had a lot of fun sharing some therapy ideas and activities I’ve used when working with younger students, but many of us work with students of varied ages and skill levels. So, my New Year’s resolution for this blog was to start incorporating some ideas that could be used with older students, too.  But, if you were loving my posts for younger kids, don't worry! We work with all age levels, so enjoy the variety here!
Talking about your New Year’s resolution (and laughing later about how quickly you failed to meet the goal you set!) is such a common occurrence. Have you ever checked to see if your students could set goals for themselves?

We provide goals for them yearly, if not more frequently, but as students grow they are expected to be part of the IEP process and give input. Being able to make plans and self-advocate are such important life skills. Do our students have the language to be able to do this?

New Year’s is a great opportunity to see what skills your students currently have and get the ball rolling to develop language to talk about what they might like to see happening in the near future. For our language impaired students, this kind of activity offers opportunities to elicit language for:
* future tense
* critical thinking skills, problem solving and decision making
* thinking about consequences of actions
* practicing sentence structures “I would like”, “I want to be able to”, “I wish I could”, etc.”
* using negatives “I wish I didn’t”, “I don’t want to”, etc.

One material that I like to use to help teach these skills is a freebie by Lynn Hubbell, an experienced special education teacher at TpT. Her free social narrative, Sometimes I Feel Green, is a great way to get kids thinking about their feelings and how they can have an impact on whether or not the emotions and behaviors escalate. At New Years, it is a perfect lead in to talking about what actions help them succeed and what actions make their problems worsen. From there, you can discuss that resolution means trying to change to make things better, and elicit something that they think they can try to do more often.

Another free material material that I use is the New Year’s Resolution and Goals Mobile from Created by Mr. Hughes.  This craft activity has simple language with enough built in guidelines that it is easy to have discussions with your students with your students while working on the craft. I really like the phrase on the mobile, “New Year, New Me!” for explaining what a New Year’s resolution is all about.

For slightly higher students, I like to use Best Foot Forward from Classroom in the Middle. The sneakers make the craftivity cool for older kids and the language is less direct, requiring more thinking skills.  I also love that the idiom ‘putting your best foot forward” can be tied in to the resolution theme.

If, by any chance, you are one of the people who don’t visit TpT regularly, you really should think about it! There are many wonderful, creative teachers out there who are sharing their skills, often for free! I love the selection of ideas that I am using, but if these don’t work quite right for your caseload, the material for you is just a search away!

So, what do you think of my New Year’s resolution?  I hope that this has gotten you thinking about how to help your students start learning to set goals! Wishing you a healthy, happy New Year!
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