Whether you're teaching your students remotely or working with them in a traditional classroom setting, teaching them how to create and use their own vision boards can be one of the most effective ways to help them learn all about intentional goal-setting for the new year.
Vision boards are fun for students to make. Vision boards can help students engage in the virtual classroom or on-campus, as well as help motivate them toward taking steps to get where they want to go in school and in life.
So, what is a vision board for students, how can you instruct them to make one, and how can you make it useful across the entire school year?
What Is a Vision Board?
Popularized by Oprah Winfrey and O Magazine, a vision board is a place where your students can add images, words, collages, or mini-murals that depict imagery of their goals and dreams. For example, a student who wants to be a firefighter one day might include pictures of fire trucks, firefighters, hydrants, and Smokey the Bear.
But it is also important that vision boards for kids depict the ways that they will get to their goals, so the same vision board discussed above might also include pictures of a fire department, a fire science school, and even someone engaging in EMT training (since this is a critical step to becoming a firefighter).
For loftier goals that may be a little more difficult to attain, more detail should be added. The more images and affirmational phrases the better. That’s because vision boards are based on The Law of Attraction, which tells us the more detailed we are with our vision boards, the likelier they are to depict not just what we want, but what it’s going to take for us to get those things.
Teaching Your Students to Make Vision Boards and How They Can Use Them
First, explain to your students the purpose of vision boards and explain what they are not. For example, if a student wants to become the president of the United States, simply pasting pictures of past presidents onto the board will not get them there. They’d also need to include steps on their board of what previous presidents did to get there, such as college, law school, campaigning, working hard, and being willing to socialize with thousands of people throughout their careers.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but vision boards for students need to be highly detailed, and those details need to have deep significance to the student who made the board.
Explain to your students that vision boards don’t work simply by being made. Once all the image searching, cutting, and pasting have been done, they’ll need to understand that vision boards are most effective when seen every day. Teach your students to have clear intentions for what they want to achieve, and explain that if specific goals change, they can always edit their boards to include new images and words or phrases to symbolize these new dreams.
Where to Put Vision Boards When They’re Complete
Once your students have completed their vision boards, it’s important that they be placed where they can be visually accessed by your students every day, even multiple times a day. If you are in a traditional classroom, consider hanging their boards all around your classroom, and make them a regular part of your planning and teaching day. If you are in a virtual classroom, have your students hang their boards in their bedrooms, or even better, behind wherever they sit during class so everyone can see what their goals are every day during class.
Making Student Vision Boards Useful All Year Long
Vision boards for students are a great way to introduce all kinds of new—or existing—material into classroom discussions about everything, from geography to history to science to language arts. That’s because each of your students will have different dreams and thoughts displayed on their boards, and these are sure to cover much ground in all these different areas.
For example, a student who wants to be a doctor might want to lead a classroom conversation about anatomy, or a student interested in becoming the mayor may want to help open up a discussion about local history. Use these various interests to your advantage in creating classroom conversations, which will also make students feel more seen, understood, and special.
Setting Goals for the School Year
Vision boards for students are also a great way to encourage shorter-term goal setting for the semester or school year. If these are the kinds of vision boards you'd like to see your kids make, have them think about where they would like to be in the next 12 months rather than where they'd like to see themselves as adults.
Have them include pictures and phrases for their boards that suggest success where they might be struggling in school or where they would like to see themselves do better academically. You can even encourage your shy students to become more outspoken by including pictures of their favorite singers, actors, and other outspoken figures.
The important thing is that you be there for your students as they work on their boards, encouraging them to research what they want to accomplish over a given period. This process will help you get to know your students, too, so creating vision boards at the beginning of the school year or semester is both fun and informative for you as an educator. Vision boards are also an excellent way for students to get to know each other, because it shows them who is interested in what, and what they might all have in common.