Exciting Update: 2016
The course I have created is up and ready!Here is the course trailer:
Check it out here!
Check it out here!
If you just want the downloadable materials, they're here (only $2.99!!)
Mission Possible! How and Why to Create Class Mission Statements from amplifiEDucation on Vimeo.
After working through these ideas and lessons with my own students and other teachers for many years, I am a true believer in the power of helping students take ownership of their behavior and learning through exploring goal-setting, values and mission statements. I learned so much more from authoring this course, and I hope it will be a wonderful addition to your classroom community and culture.
Here is the original post I wrote (in 2010), when I was first beginning to learn about this!
In thinking about the digital portfolios, I have decided that a good place to begin is by having the students in 5th grade and 8th grade write personal mission statements. Since hearing Stephen Covey and his son, Sean Covey, speak about The Leader in Me, a program designed to teach leadership skills to young students, I have had a revived interest in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and teens and happy kids...they're all the same habits).
Habit #2 "Begin with the end in mind" is the habit that inspired the personal mission statement. This is the hardest habit for me, personally, so maybe I'm projecting, but I think that for a lot of students it is also hard to think of the future. They may not understand how what they are doing in 5th grade or 8th grade is part of the foundation for who they will become.
I like the idea of writing a personal mission statement as a focus for the portfolio because the portfolio is about reflective growth as a learner. What better way to begin... than with the end in mind. Why are you in school? What is your purpose? What are your goals?
I see the personal mission statement as being more general, more direct, than a list of learning goals or, as in the case of a teacher's portfolio, a teaching philosophy. It will not necessarily take the place of these; both could be included.
In trying to craft a lesson on writing a personal mission statement I looked at lots of tools, examples and ideas. This is what I have come up with for 5th grade.
As an introduction to the concept, we will read together our school's mission statement.
We will view this video created by a 4th grade class to illustrate their vision for the year.
Next, we will use wallwisher to collaboratively brainstorm a class mission statement. Students will answer these 3 questions:
-Why are you here?
-What do you most want to learn this year?
-How will we accomplish our goals?
Students will then organize their answers into categories and use each category to create a sentence or two for the mission statement.
That will probably be enough for one day. I see this exercise as a stepping-stone on the path to writing a personal mission statement. I am going to work with 5th grade this afternoon, and I will share results.