A new year is always a time of hope and anticipation. It feels as though the slate is whipped clean and everyone is given a fresh start. We create plans, set goals, and resolve to make the next 12 months even better than the ones that came before. That’s how it’s supposed to feel at least. In reality, many of us are entering 2022 with a lot of stress, frustration, and gloom.

It looks like the challenges of last year (which themselves spawned in 2020) will follow us into 2022. For a community of educators who are already burnt out, this notion can feel overwhelming. However, it’s important to remember that we’re not in this alone. Organizations like VAI exist because we want to empower teachers and help shoulder their burdens in difficult times. So, let’s work together and create a little hope for the year ahead.

Light in the Darkness

All of us have the power to make the world a little brighter. Just imagine the possibilities if our students got involved and helped others start the year on a positive, inspiring note? Well, VAI has created a free activity to help them do just that! In this lesson, students perform random acts of kindness and challenge others to do the same. They can perform these acts individually or perform one as an entire classroom. When they’re done, record the acts of kindness as points of light on a Lights in the Darkness map.

Once that’s finished, have your students challenge another classroom to do the same. As students across the country join in, they can start a movement that makes the world a little kinder place! Here’s a link to the Lights in the Darkness map as well as further instructions on how to get started. This is just one of several new year activities available in VAI’s free Timely Topic: Cheers to the New Year. These lessons are designed to spark student creativity while also creating a positive impact in the community.

Not only will these tools help students learn, but they will also give others the encouragement they need to step into the new year with confidence. Be sure to check out VAI’s other free resources as well. Whether you’re looking for helpful webinars, instructional strategies, or resources to support K-12 administrators as they lead in today’s challenging educational environment, VAI wants to be a source of support for all educators in 2022. We can tackle any challenge when we work together, so let us help make this school year one filled with curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking!

Keeping an Encouraging Mindset

Though this year may be filled with heavy obstacles, now is not the time to despair. The truth is there are promising signs on the horizon, and 2022 may be the dawning of new and better tomorrow. So, out aside your anxiety and get started on your resolutions. Make plans, set goals, explore new avenues for inspiring student curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Let’s do everything we can to make the 2022-23 school year memorable, meaningful, and fun!

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