I had thought of calling this article something like ” how to achieve an hour of silence with 25 teens” because that’s just what happened when we did this activity last week.
It’s actually incredibly powerful and I not only do it myself every year, but also monthly and weekly.
So here’s what we did: everyone wrote themselves a letter containing the following information;
- Achievements this year – before you beat yourself up about what you haven’t managed to do, why not give yourself a pat on the back for what you have done.
2. What didn’t work out and Why – ok, so you didn’t achieve everything you had planned, it’s fair to note this, but more importantly why? Was it too difficult? Did you set enough time aside for it? Get the necessary help? Or as I often discover, is it still something you want to achieve or have your priorities changed?
3. Altitude- Give yourself a mark out of ten for how you’re doing in the following domaines; family, social life, school, health and “me” (meaning how you’re feeling in and about yourself) and more importantly think of a “mini-tweak” for each domaine, something small that could bump up your score, for example health – “so I’ll replace soda with water during meals/one day a week/during the week”.
4. Goals – the secret here is not to have too many, but rather to work on three or four maximum, and especially to focus on why you want to achieve this and how you will feel when you have. Then the secret (as I mentioned in my lesson on BHAGS & baby steps) is to break down these goals into three or four achievable steps and work on doing these, so rather than looking at your out-of-reach goal of writing a novel for a whole year, look at writing for ten minutes every day instead.
Finally, a little visualisation never did anyone any harm, so we wrote a paragraph set on 1st June next year, and included everything we have achieved and changed so far. Written in the present tense this seems more reachable, as if we could actually do it.
The students were given five or ten minutes for each section, and I allowed them to write in English or L1, as they preferred (something’s in class are more important that correct verb formation as I mention in L1 or not L1) and although I added another title/section after this five minutes was up, the students were free to take as long as they wanted, some took the whole hour.
When they had finished they put their letters into envelopes and sealed them, I won’t be looking because as you can see, they’ve addressed them to themselves, not to me.
I have put them in my cupboard however and I’ll be handing them out on the first of June for them to read, revise and then re-seal until this time next year.