A Poem to Reflect on the Year

Students read and reflect on a poem and on their experiences over the past year, and consider things they've learned or goals they want to set for the coming year.   

Sharing a poem

Ask students to arrange their seats in a circle, if they aren't already seated this way.  Give students a copy of the poem "Half Full, Half Empty, Half Over" by Lucille Wionna. 

Read the poem out loud as a group by inviting students to read up to a line each, going around the circle in order. 

Next, give students a few minutes to study the poem by themselves, in silence.  Invite them to pick a line that resonates with them in some way as they think about the past six months of their lives, since January.

Once again, go around the circle in order, this time asking each student to read out the line that resonates with them, thus creating a personalized version of the poem. 

For the next go round, ask students to read their line again, this time explaining why they picked that line. 

Half Full, Half Empty, Half Over

By Lucille Wionna


Half full      : )

Half empty   : (

Half o v e r .

It’s June.

(The sixth month

Out of twelve.)

Have I wasted 

My year so far?

Have I accomplished 

Anything since

J a n u a r y ?

Half full      : )

Half empty   : (

Half o v e r .

I got out of a rut.

Went through a

B r e a k - u p .

Close friend 

Moved away. 

Changes left and right. 


Or n o t ?

Half full      : )

Half empty    : (

Half o v e r .

Spent time

With my family,

And made a

Course of action. 

Stayed friends with

The g u y ,

And basked in

The S U N .

Half full      : )

Half empty   : (

Half o v e r . 

Take a look back

And evaluate 

The past six months

(Out of twelve).

Filled mainly with 

S m i l e s ,

But sometimes with

T e a r s . 

Half full    : )

Half empty   : )

Half o v e r . 

The sun has been

S h i n i n g ,

Though there has been

R a i n .

I push through the

T r o u b l e s ,

And come out on

T O P again. 

Half full   : )

Half full  : )

Half full : ) 

Reflecting on the poem

If time allows, consider some or all of the follow-up go rounds:

  • What is something you learned so far this year that you’d like to remember after the summer, as you move into the next grade?
  • What obstacles have you overcome this year?
  • What is a goal you’d like to set for yourself next year?  What might get in the way?  How could you try to overcome the obstacles you envision for next year?
  • What might you tell students coming into the grade you're now graduating from? What should they should keep in mind?

As a follow-up activity, consider having students write themselves a letter or postcard to their future selves, with the lessons they learned this year and/or goals they’d like to set for themselves for next year.  Collect the letters or postcards and either send them to the students before the start of next school year, or have them ready for distribution and reflection at the start of next school year. 

Alternatively, students could write letters or postcards to students coming into the grade with advice and suggestions to help them succeed next year. 

Closing Ceremony: Connections

Set a timer for three to five minutes and explain that this next activity is about what students might be grateful for as they think back over the year so far (or the full school year).  

Explain that this is not a back and forth conversation or a circle go round.  People are invited to express their gratitude if they feel so inclined. 

If no one feels the urge to speak, then we’ll simply sit and enjoy some quiet time at the end of our session.