I love the big fresh starts, the clean slates like birthdays and new years, but I also really like the idea that we can get up every morning and start over.
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Plan a Fresh Start
I know a lot of people look to January as a time for a fresh start. I, however, believe December is an excellent time for a fresh start. First, there are a lot of twinkle lights in December. It feels magical, like I can do anything, because even if things don’t go as planned, there’s still a little sparkle in the world. Usually it takes a fresh start time to get going in my life, so I appreciate the extra glitter in the dark world while my fresh start takes hold.
Also, there are only a few workweeks in December, if you keep a traditional school calendar, which I do. This makes setting new routines feel possible. I have a little bit of wiggle room. Sure, there are things disrupting my routine because I’m on holiday, but it seems like that’s just more of a reason to figure out what my priorities are and get them locked into my life.
My mom always encouraged New Year’s resolutions, and my dad always poked fun at the tradition. My mom believed in thinking ahead and making a plan for the year, so it wouldn’t slip through your fingers like sand through an hourglass. Dad believed if you wanted to do something, you did it, no matter the time of year. As an Enneagram Type 3, I believe they are both right.
In my twenties, I began setting intentions, rather than resolutions. Perhaps it’s wordsmithing, but intentions feel like fuel behind a fresh start. Over the years, I’ve also toyed with mantras, because they felt a little livelier than resolutions. Fifteen years ago, after reading an article by Debbie Macomber that my mom mailed me folded inside an old-fashioned handwritten note, I began selecting a word to live by each year. A few years later, the concept became wildly popular, led by Ali Edwards.
No matter how you approach fresh starts, I think they deserve to be planned and celebrated. I’m going through the final days of 2020 with my heart wide open and ready to welcome a new word into my life. I’m reflecting on the year and considering my priorities. I’m strolling through my small town, well after dark, when the twinkle lights are blazing and reminding me anything is possible. I’m sure my One Little Word for 2021 will find me soon.
This is the final Big Fresh issue of 2020. We will take a two-week break and return on January 8. I hope you have time to slow down and consider a fresh start. I’m sure this issue will inspire you. We’ll be posting more inspiration and reminders of favorite articles from the past on our social media feeds. If you don’t already follow us, we’d love for you to join us on your favorite social media stomping grounds. Find us on FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram. Finally, the Big Fresh podcastis available wherever you listen to podcasts.
This week we look at fresh starts. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Editor, Choice Literacy
Christy Rush-Levine finds her students sometimes need to stop and be challenged to think in more positive ways about their reading abilities. She describes how she designs minilessons for impromptu resets in her middle school classroom.
Ali Edwards encourages selecting One Little Word to lead you through the year. Here she explains the history and introduces her 2020 One Little Word.
Big News! Soon you will find new instant-access courses at Choice Literacy. We are excited to share articles, videos, and brand-new keynote presentations all delivered as a virtual professional learning experience. All courses will be free for Literacy Leader members, and select courses will be free for Classic Classroom members. Courses are available to purchase for everyone else.
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Brian also created a TikTok video to share this concept with teachers in his professional learning network.
Inspired by a closet clean-out, Leigh Anne Eck considers the way a seasonal rotation is also good for classroom libraries.
In an encore video, Christy Rush-Levine‘s eighth graders lead their classmates in a “voices” mantra. This shared chant created together starts each class with a sense of community and strength.
Stephanie Affinito guides us in transforming a coaching vision into a practical coaching menu so teachers can choose their ideal way to work with an instructional coach. Stephanie talks more about her ideas in this week’s podcast.
Heather Fisher has a knack for cheering on teachers, and she inspires us to do the same with these three simple and meaningful ideas.
The Center for Creative Leadership offers 10 Leadership Resolutions for a Successful New Year.
The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.
That’s all for this week!