Today, I have a fun New Year printable for you: A New Year’s maze worksheet! What are you and your learners doing to prepare for next year? As a writing prompt and lesson starter, we are including a free downloadable New Year Maze to help out. This printable end-of-year activity for students is great for reflecting on the past year, helping students set goals for the new year, AND developing a growth mindset for a new year!
NEW YEAR Printable
As the new year approaches, there should be time for self-reflection on the accomplishments and lessons learned this year.
That’s where this New Years printable comes into play: reviewing the past year, and looking toward the upcoming year, all with a growth mindset.
Not all lessons will be positive, nor should they be. People learn and grow through making mistakes. Growth mindset, as highlighted in our recent post on supporting growth mindset mistakes, is a great tool for understanding the concept of learning and growing.
Another resource, the Big Life Journal is a great resource for goal planning and growth mindset.
HOW TO USe THE NEW YEAR MAZE Worksheet
The New Year Maze is a printable New Year’s worksheet kids will love. The printable is a three part task that can be used in therapy, at home, or as a therapy home program over the holiday break.
Included on this New Years printable are three aspects:
- Write a memory from this year.
- Complete the maze.
- Then write a new goal for this year.
Because the New Year’s printable is a tool for therapy and building skills, it focuses on various aspects of development: visual motor skills, visual perception, and handwriting all in a functional maze activity.
The free printable has three different versions.
- The first is a color version of the New Year Maze highlighting the writing line for learners with visual perceptual challenges during writing tasks
- The other two versions are printer-friendly in black and white, with single rule lines
- Printer-friendly with wide rule writing lines. containing two different styles of lines
This printable New Year’s maze can be used with different levels or to address various skills in therapy…so print off copies for your therapy caseload or classroom.
Use the New Year’s maze worksheet to:
- Lowest level learners can dictate what they would like written, and/or draw pictures
- Middle level learners can write one or two words about their memories and goal, or copy from a model
- Higher level learners can write an idea about a New Years goal, then use this as a writing prompt for a longer paper. This turns into a multilevel activity to use during many sessions. They can also draw about their ideas, or copy the designs
- Put learner’s page into a sheet protector to reference later in the school year and again at the end of December
- Make this part of a larger lesson plan including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills. This New Year Activities post is full of great ideas to expand your treatment sessions
- Talk about memories, describe what makes them great or terrible, and what they learned from it. Share your own memories of the year to make yourself relatable
- Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning handwriting students who need bigger space to write
- More or less prompting may be needed to grade the activity to make it easier or harder
- Executive function – observe how your learners handle this open ended task. Some skills to watch for are: following directions, attention to task, attention to detail, focus, sequencing, planning, task completion, neatness, impulse control, compliance, behavior, and work tolerance are all important skills to learn
- If your learners are struggling, deconstruct the task to determine what area is causing them difficulty. Visual perception, handwriting, thought processing, executive function, fine motor skills, strength, or 27 other possibilities could be causing frustration or shutdown
New Years Printable for Setting Goals with Kids
You can use this New Year’s printable in therapy to work on specific goals with kids and set objectives for the upcoming year.
Writing goals and setting objectives is at the heart of individual education planning (IEP). While this is tedious, it is necessary and effective. While encouraging learners to set their own goals, consider how you formulate the goals used in their IEP. SMART goals are key to successful goal planning. Are your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound? If not, they may fail.
Here is a post on breaking down goals to get you started. Learners might need a tool such as this goal ladder to help them understand and formulate SMART goals.
As you work with your learners to set great goals on this New Years Maze, think of the reason they may have failed in the past. Perhaps their goal was not:
- specific enough (I will eat less junk food),
- measurable (how much is less junk food),
- attainable (can you really cut back on junk food),
- relevant (is eating junk food causing you a problem), and
- timebound (how long do you give yourself to eat less snacks?)
As you think about your own goals, is the type of goal, or an element of it, holding you back? Challenge yourself to write a really SMART goal this year and see if you can make progress. It could be difficult, or very easy (I will eat three pieces of chocolate every day).
Growth Mindset for the New Year
When we work with kids using this New Year’s printable activity, we can talk about their cup being half empty, half full, or bubbling over.
This goes back to growth mindset and personal beliefs. Learners of all ages and stages have different feelings and beliefs about their skills.
- Some believe they are just terrible at everything and their cup is still draining.
- Others feel they are amazingly perfect, and their cup is bubbling over with enthusiasm.
- The third group are the realists. They understand we are never perfect, there is always room for self improvement.
Unless your learners are truly perfect, you might have to gently squash a couple of bubbles, and point out things they can improve, or a new skill while pondering their New Year’s Maze assignment. This is the essence of learning and change.
As I think about the upcoming year, I challenge myself to set personal objectives. This year was a gratitude jar. I wrote down all of the great things that happened, the moments that made me thankful, and the shining stars in my life. I will read this in the new year to reflect on what went right this year.
Free New Year’s Printable Maze Worksheet
Want a copy of this New Year’s worksheet (that builds skills in many areas?) Enter your email address into the form below. Or, if you are a member of The OT Toolbox Member’s Club, access this printable New Year’s activity in our New Years Therapy Theme (Level 2 members) or in our freebie dashboard under Handwriting Tools (Level 1 & 2 members).
Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.