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Cognitive Flexibility growth mindset Social-Emotional Learning

Thinking Flexibly to Start the New Year

When it comes to traditions, many people carry out the same tried-and-true ones year after year. To start off 2023, here’s a fresh idea—shift perspectives and try out a “new” New Year tradition from another country or region!

Global Citizenship

As the world grows more interconnected, students need to prepare for global citizenship. Helping students become aware of their own family traditions as well as different, international traditions can expand their knowledge of the world and help them take on a different perspective.

We all understand the world through the lens of our own cultural identity, experiences, and personal values. It is important for students to develop self-awareness of their own values and judgments. Equally important is equipping students with the skills to understand others’ perspectives. Students use metacognition and flexible thinking to develop the social awareness and relationship skills that are essential for connecting with others.

Perspectives + Projects

Most countries and regions around the world have unique and meaningful traditions to bid farewell to the closing year and usher in a new year. Invite your students to research different New Year’s traditions to explore multiple perspectives of a single tradition and expand their metacognitive and flexible thinking skills.

For example, students might be interested in learning about the following New Year’s traditions:

  • United States: Watching the ball drop
  • Spain: Eating 12 grapes
  • Haiti: Sharing soup joumou
  • Philippines: Serving 12 round fruits

Keep Exploring

For ideas of virtual trips around the country and around the world, check out these educational online field trips. Students can “travel” to explore different places and perspectives with the click of a button!

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org

Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org

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