I love making changes to my curriculum each year, bringing in more project based learning and design thinking principles. My class has 1:1 iPads, so that is a plus for differentiation and student creativity. Outside of the classroom I am on the tech committee, master teacher, BTSA mentor, Silicon Valley Education Foundation teacher fellow, and I'm just joining GSV Labs EdTech teacher network. I love hanging out and discussing education with other teachers and edtech developers.
I work with 2nd graders, so we are at a different level of discussion. However, we have talked about "failure" and perseverance. Students built boats to hold pennies without sinking. After the 1st iteration they met and discussed what didn't work, what they saw in the boats of other teams that they wanted to incorporate, and then they tried again. We then met whole class to discuss what they learned by creating boats that didn't work the 1st time and how observation, brainstorming and discussion led to improvement and new learning.
Students have also been reflecting (on post its, so they aren't faced with a huge piece of paper) on what has been hard so far but what they have done to improve--ask for help, try a different way, draw a picture, etc.
Failure seems a great topic to start with. It impacts all students and seems to be something that is "danced around" and misunderstood (or at least different people involved have different perceptions of what failure means). Bringing it out in the open seems like a good way to start the year along with a discussion of specific personal examples, growth mindset, ways to get beyond the initial failure, etc.