I’m not sure where this even came from, whether something someone talked about at a conference or a blog, but I found it quite engaging.
We were making name tents for those fun filled times where I am out of the classroom and a guest teacher wondering who that child is. Everyone puts their name on the front, decorated them, all that fun stuff. On the back, I had the students write two goals for themselves during the school year. Nothing too hard, but just wanted them to think about why there are there in my room. Two goals isn’t something difficult to visualize for most students, and being on the back, they will see these goal many different times during the year.
We then shared our goal and the first student reads “I’ll try to read 30 books during the school year.” Whoa whoa whoa, stop right there. All the students looked at me like I was crazy because, come on, 30 sixth grade books, that’s a lot of reading! So I wrote that goal up on the board and said I loved that it was a reading goal, I loved it was related back to books in that student’s hands, but what one word needed to be changed? *sound of crickets* I’ve also told my students I’m practicing extending my wait time this year too, so a couple of students start to wiggle, feeling uncomfortable, so they start guessing. One of them hits on the word “try”, and I yell out “BAM,” making half of them jump out of their seats! Teach LIke a Pirate indeed, I’m bringing that energy! 🙂
So, I ask why we’d worry about the word, try? Isn’t that a good thing to try something new? One little girls raises her hand and says “yes, but how hard will you try?” Oh yes, getting better!! They are going right down the road I want them to. We talk about how we can change that word try, and the boy who’s said the goal knows all ready what he wants to turn it into: “will”.
I will. . . . those are two powerful words. For me, they are like a promise, a pact telling yourself that something is going to happen and that you’ll be right there in the middle of it, making it so. It’s two little words that carry so much weight, so much power, that we talked about this for a while long. As we are talking, I see students changing their goals suddenly, making their statements “I will” statements. Suddenly, their goals come out more forcefully, with more vigor. I love this about this group! When they see something they want, soon or later (sometimes whether I want them to or not) there they are going after it.
So, how can you make “I will. . . ” statements work in your classroom? Your family? Your life? Amazing how two little words can truly change a life!