I had to screen shot the handout, but this is the assignment. They fill in the squares and use color pens to decorate the entire sheet. I let them use the internet to find headlines from last year. (I swear their memories are worse than mine--and that is saying something!)
The first day back after the holidays is usually noisy with all the catching up, so this assignment gives them the chance to reflect on the past. I don't even mind the chatter that accompanies hunting for the big stories and inventions of the past year.
What surprises me every year? The advice that they give to themselves. It frequently gives me insight into struggles the student might be going through or insecurities that they deal with daily.
You might be wondering what proves to be the most difficult: the "Dream" headlines for the year ahead. That stumps quite a few of them. I don't think they have ever been challenged to think about what could happen in our community, the country, or the world in the coming year. And of course, because it is a "dream" headline--they can make anything happen. That freedom paralyzes some of them.
There you have it: a fun and thoughtful way to begin the new semester.