I followed my end of the school year routine with students writing a letter to their future self. In the past the assignment has been of traditional paper, envelope and a pen. This has been a fun and energetic writing assignment over the years. Though students put their home address on their envelope, most come to my classroom late May of their 9th grade year to retrieve their letter. I truly love seeing their eyes light up when they open their letters and a chance for us reconnect.
We are a 6th to 9th grade middle school, well for one more year. The 9th graders will move to the high school campus the fall of 2017, so the assignment is now a letter to my 8th grade self. After addressing their envelope, students think of the two parts of their letter. One part is of 6th grade reflection, a bit like a diary and the other part of who will you be in 8th grade. The table discussion is cautious, lively and that of possibility. I reinforce that only you, the student will see and read this letter. That being said, be completely honest with yourself.
One by one students complete their letter and seal it in their envelope. As I pan the classroom I see many drifting in thought of what will be in two short years. More table sharing builds organically, as some share some of their dreams and goals for being an 8th grader. One table states, too bad we can’t do a letter to my senior self. My wheels start turning as to how to make this happen.
The management of letters to their 8th or 9th grade middle school self was easy and meaningful. I wasn’t sure about how to make it happen for seniors. So we had a classroom town hall discussion on how to pull this off. Students, when given a chance have so many ideas and angles that can only be seen through 12 year old eyes. BINGO, suddenly the task was clear … Screencastify and Google Calendar.
Each student would find a quiet space to shoot a short video message to their senior self using the chrome extension Screencastify. After completing the video, copy the link from their Screencastify account dashboard and attach that link to a future date in Google Calendar. Most picked a school day during the 3rd week of May, 2022. Finally students had to add a reminder before saving this calendar event “Message to my Future Self”.
I can only imagine what will be felt when they get their video message. Though this was fun for students and this old teacher, deeper than this was helping students look at themselves as young adults. They start to connect their goals with a path to getting there. Most important was the engagement, 100% completed this assignment on the due date.