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No-Prep Activity

Developing Independence: A Guide for Educators of Middle School Students

Developing Independence: A Guide for Educators of Middle School Students


Gaining independence is a crucial part of growing up, especially for middle school students. As they grow, students learn to take initiative, do things on their own, and rely less on others for guidance. Developing independence has numerous positive effects on their lives, such as increased self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, trustworthiness, and opportunities for learning. In this blog post, we will discuss a no-prep activity to encourage independence, provide discussion questions, and explore related skills.

No-Prep Activity: Goal Setting Gallery Walk

This activity requires no preparation or materials, making it an excellent choice for educators looking to promote independence in their students. To begin, have students stand in a circle, leaving enough space between each person. Instruct the students to think of a personal goal they would like to achieve in the upcoming weeks or months. It should be a SMART goal, meaning it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Once students have thought of their goals, have them share their goals with the person standing next to them. Then, have the students rotate clockwise, repeating the process and sharing their goals with their new partners. Continue rotating until each student has shared their goal with everyone in the circle. This activity encourages students to take initiative, practice persistence, and develop a better understanding of themselves as they share and discuss their goals with others.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some challenges you might face as you work towards your goal, and how can you overcome them?
  • How can knowing your strengths and weaknesses help you become more independent?
  • Why is it important to be persistent when working towards a goal?
  • How can taking initiative help you become more independent?
  • What are some ways you can practice being independent at home and school?

Related Skills

Developing independence is closely related to several other essential skills for middle school students, such as:

  • Problem-solving: As students become more independent, they will need to learn how to solve problems on their own without relying on others for answers.
  • Decision-making: Independent students must make decisions for themselves, weighing the pros and cons of their choices to determine the best course of action.
  • Self-advocacy: Learning to speak up for their needs and wants is crucial for students as they gain independence.
  • Time management: Managing their time effectively will help students achieve their goals and become more independent.

Next Steps

If you’re interested in exploring more activities and resources to help your middle school students develop independence and other valuable skills, sign up for free sample materials at Everyday Speech. By incorporating these resources into your teaching, you can provide your students with the tools they need to grow and thrive as independent individuals.

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