Centennial hosted our 2nd annual Culture Day this week. First a couple great moments shared and then some how to 🙂 A couple days before Culture Day I was feeling a bit frustrated pulling things together and wasn’t sure how much participation we would get. I shared this with a colleague and she told me … Continue reading Filipino K-Popish music bringing students together
Poutine & Perogies & Leadership
“Mr. Dickson, how do you pronounce poutine? Is it pooteeen or pootin?” There is about 10 minutes left in my Gr 10 student leadership class when a table of kids asks me this question. Now I am intrigued. But first I must crush their image of me as their all knowing teacher. My answer, “I … Continue reading Poutine & Perogies & Leadership
Turns Out Connection Matters!
At the end of Semester 1 we held our Gr 9 tours. We are a 10-12 school so this is a chance to welcome the Class of 2026! 25 Leadership all stars came in to help guide tours on a day when there were no classes or exams. After a quick opening assembly they would … Continue reading Turns Out Connection Matters!
99 becomes 100%
Today is the deadline to hand in assignments for Semester 1 in my Leadership classes. For a few students this is when they try to figure out how to do most of the course assignments in two days. But yesterday I experienced a breath of fresh air. Jill (name changed) came up to my desk … Continue reading 99 becomes 100%
Recruiting Quality Student Leaders with Crayons
It is 8:05 AM on a Friday. Leighton has come in early to be a Walmart greeter, welcoming students to school with some music and a wave. They see that we will be coloring today and gets excited. You see, once a semester students spend the first half of class coloring. Then the class puts … Continue reading Recruiting Quality Student Leaders with Crayons
Awesomeness Is Back!!!
A couple of weeks ago I was preparing my Leadership classes for the day retreat they would be going on. Here are some of the reminders I was giving: All 3 classes are coming Don't forget to wear your blue leadership shirt and bring a lunch or $ No I am not giving you directions … Continue reading Awesomeness Is Back!!!
Sam I Am, Sam I Am … I will try that this week Sam I Am!
Josh walked into the classroom, came right up to me (he is 6’5” and at least 275 lbs) and said “We are doing the Green Eggs & Ham challenge, right?!” You bet Josh. The previous week I read the class Green Eggs & Ham. I then challenged them to try something new during the next … Continue reading Sam I Am, Sam I Am … I will try that this week Sam I Am!
Mr. Dickson, You Didn’t Do Anything!
Centennial Leadership was in the middle of running our 3rd Annual Rockathon Fundraiser for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. I had to leave the event for an hour and coach rugby on our field. Another teacher was left in charge just in case. When I returned the photo booth was up and running and students were … Continue reading Mr. Dickson, You Didn’t Do Anything!
Staff Appreciation Wordle – High Impact & Simple! (and some bonus Pi)
A new staff appreciation student leadership group has been formed. What to do, what to do? They were looking for a creative idea and I had nothing. Most of our staff have been at Centennial for a while so they have seen it all. Then the minor leadership teacher miracle occurred. They came up with … Continue reading Staff Appreciation Wordle – High Impact & Simple! (and some bonus Pi)
No Cell Phone Distractions in Leadership Class? A Silly Dream or My New Reality?
24 years teaching student leadership – can an old dog learn a new trick? Yes he can!!! Realistic Picture - I just got glasses! I always felt it was not worth it to fight with kids over cellphone use in class. I would constantly be reminding them and it would make me crazy. So other … Continue reading No Cell Phone Distractions in Leadership Class? A Silly Dream or My New Reality?
The 5 Days Of School Left Brown Bag Fundraising Miracle
One week left until Christmas Break – 5 days of school – everyone is tired. My Leadership 10s are running a Brown Bag Fundraiser. We have a number of students at school who experience a food deficit at home. We offer them food at lunch each day. There is no money to support this so … Continue reading The 5 Days Of School Left Brown Bag Fundraising Miracle
Sweet Caroline on a Gondola – an unexpected Leadership lesson
I am on a Gondola full of people ready to descend. It is dark and we can see so many beautiful lights in the valley below. Unexpectedly, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond starts to play, and everyone sings along … You never know when a Leadership lesson presents itself. My family was visiting Palm Springs and decided to … Continue reading Sweet Caroline on a Gondola – an unexpected Leadership lesson
May The 4th Be With You
Ugh!!! Covid drags on. In Calgary and most of Alberta we are back to online school the last two weeks with at least two more to go. My guess is students may be out the rest of the school year. Alberta has the highest Covid positivity rate in North America. Feels like there is no … Continue reading May The 4th Be With You
Virtual Pep Rally Primer
"I enjoyed the virtual pep rally very much. Please pass on my congratulations to your kids (and you, of course) for a spectacular job! Felt like a regular school!" Centennial Staff Member Centennial has a tradition of running one big Pep Rally every December. No assemblies allowed due to Covid so that was a no … Continue reading Virtual Pep Rally Primer
In Covid times we are all looking for wins. I had three this last week.
“I was bored and made 125 3D snowflakes”
"I was bored and made 125 3D snowflakes"
Festive Homemade Yellow Lanyards
Kelly came up to me near the end of class and said she had an idea. “I think we should make our own Festive Yellow Lanyards.” Festive Yellow Lanyards? - Intrigued? - read on. The Canadian Student Leadership Association runs one day Horizons conferences across Canada each year. I have presented at many of them. Twice … Continue reading Festive Homemade Yellow Lanyards
Covid Fatigue – Tired of the Mask etc.
Last Wednesday as my Grade 11 & 12 Leadership students came into class I discovered that 1/3 of them were absent. I open up the attendance program to find that most of them are now on a 14 day quarantine. In Alberta if a positive case is found to have been in the school all the students and staff that were … Continue reading Covid Fatigue – Tired of the Mask etc.
A Worm For You – Magic Wiggle Worm Wednesday
First - Why I love being a Leadership Advisor – 2 wins for me this past week Vanessa – In the middle of one of my morning classes Vanessa came for a visit. I was in the middle of a lesson but could tell she really wanted to talk to me. I waved her in. She … Continue reading A Worm For You – Magic Wiggle Worm Wednesday
CSLC Withdrawal – Missing My Crew Means Ideas For You
Last week was tough. I was supposed to be in Yorkton SK for CSLC 2020 (Canadian Student Leadership Conference). Instead I’ve got a mask on my face and trying to figure out a Leadership program in Covid times. I am grateful to be back and with kids. But I was missing the energy, enthusiasm, ideas, … Continue reading CSLC Withdrawal – Missing My Crew Means Ideas For You
Relentless – Stronger Than Resilient
April 30, 2020 1 month into Covid Emergency Online Education 7 AM – in my basement – ready to start my morning workout before heading to the computer Hating life and missing what we are no longer doing at school – Rockathon – Alberta Student Leadership Conference – Leadership Grad – being with my classes I push … Continue reading Relentless – Stronger Than Resilient
Pillow Balancing on Google Meet – School Culture Matters
My Leadership 10 class is finishing off our weekly Google Meet class. At this point we have been out of school for two months. At the end I give them what I call the five minute free for all. Everyone can unmute their microphones and say whatever they want. It can get a little chaotic but a … Continue reading Pillow Balancing on Google Meet – School Culture Matters
Calgary Leadership Teachers / Rockstars Social Distance Brainstorming
Had the chance to connect with some of my favorite people, the Calgary Leadership Rockstar Crew. Michelle, Jackie, Kate, Laura, Cody, Rebecca, and I shared what we are doing at our Calgary High Schools to build school culture in our communities. It was great to see their faces and share how we were doing before … Continue reading Calgary Leadership Teachers / Rockstars Social Distance Brainstorming
connecting and showing care while apart I had the opportunity to participate in a Zoom conversation with Phil Boyte and four Leadership Advisors from California. I believe that social distancing might be a little easier looking out your window at palm trees rather than a snow filled back yard. You decide. We all work with … Continue reading #socialdistancetogetherness
Superstore Surprise – an unexpected boost – Ring Pops and a Link Crew moment
Last week I was shopping at Superstore. I of course had the typical leadership advisor shopping list, ring pops and Dad’s chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. You know the ones that come two per packet in a big box. They make for great prizes and appreciation gifts with my Leadership crew. I of course threw in … Continue reading Superstore Surprise – an unexpected boost – Ring Pops and a Link Crew moment
Valentine’s Day Idea & The Harbor – an outstanding video series for youth
I was avoiding my dreaded bus cleaning assignment during exam break. I couldn’t procrastinate anymore and headed to the custodian’s office for cleaning supplies. Then I saw something really cool. Over a year ago we put Coyote paw prints up around the school. Each paw print had the name of one of our staff or students. … Continue reading Valentine’s Day Idea & The Harbor – an outstanding video series for youth
Find Your Tribe – helping students feel connected
Sept. 2019 -Arkan walked into his first day of classes in the Leadership room, put his arms in the air, and said "I'm home!" Jan. 2020 - Arkan comes into class, sees the "Oh the Places You'll Go!" books ready to be signed and says "Oh no, it means the end of Leadership is close." … Continue reading Find Your Tribe – helping students feel connected
The Breakfast Club Battles Doomsday (Budget Cuts)
Devastating cuts had been announced by the Alberta Government the end of October. Temporary contract teachers may lose their jobs soon. Teaching schedules may change. Yet again we are asked to do more with less. The mood feels heavier and more somber among staff than it has in years. The next day is session #2 … Continue reading The Breakfast Club Battles Doomsday (Budget Cuts)
Christmas Charities – Supercharge them – Delay the Day! … and then play some Bingo
Last year our guidance counselor came up to me in the hallway with a problem. Every day a number of students pick up brown bag lunches because they don’t have enough to eat at home. I found out that number had gone up significantly in our school and we could not meet the demand. “Could … Continue reading Christmas Charities – Supercharge them – Delay the Day! … and then play some Bingo
Tree Frogs Can’t Jump – But Australian Hairy Frogs Sure Can Roll!
It turns out that tree frogs can’t jump. Many years ago when I was a new Leadership teacher at Yale Secondary in Abbotsford BC the class came up with a great idea for a lunch activity. We would have a frog jumping contest in the gym. So the promotions began. We gave the frogs the names Rufus and Max. We put … Continue reading Tree Frogs Can’t Jump – But Australian Hairy Frogs Sure Can Roll!
Looks Like the Raptors, Sounds Like the Raptors, Feels Like the Raptors – visualizing and creating great events and activities
I love the Toronto Raptors. I live in Calgary and have been fortunate enough to attend some of their games. With a good game that place can get rocking. You walk in and people are wearing Raptors Jerseys. They have an awesome video introduction before the game. Banners, pictures, and displays make everything all about … Continue reading Looks Like the Raptors, Sounds Like the Raptors, Feels Like the Raptors – visualizing and creating great events and activities
Fight the in class cell phone glow
Freedom Writers Graphic Assignment You have chosen a movie or video to show your class. You have picked something that you are pretty sure they haven't seen and hopefully will enjoy and learn something from. You start the movie or video and then as you look across the class you see many students embraced by … Continue reading Fight the in class cell phone glow
The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield – Lesson Plan
After hearing Chris Hadfield speak at the Canadian Student Leadership Conference in Edmonton (CSLC 2018) I was inspired to share his children's book The Darkest Dark with my Leadership class. It went great - below is the lesson plan and assignment we used. I began by reading the book to the class elementary school style … Continue reading The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield – Lesson Plan
Scaredy Squirrel- Leadership Role Model!!!
Our Gr. 10 Leadership students always complete an assignment based on the fantastic book Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. Start by reading them the story elementary school style. (one time we tried showing the pages by powerpoint but reading straight from the book went way better) Be sure to give it a very dramatic reading. … Continue reading Scaredy Squirrel- Leadership Role Model!!!
Kindness – Dew It!!!
Centennial Leadership is launching our latest Be Kind day. We pick a day and encourage students to wear their Be Kind shirts. We bring in a different shirt design each time and bring in limited numbers so that they sell out and leaves our school wanting more. This time we are going with the Mountain … Continue reading Kindness – Dew It!!!
Be Kind – Share A Flower
Recently at Centennial we held a Be Kind day. Students are asked to wear a Be Kind shirt that we sell at the school store for a reduced price of $8. The original shirts said "Be Kind" on the front and "...Just Because" on the back. We got the original idea for the shirts and … Continue reading Be Kind – Share A Flower
Guest Speaker follow up assignment
Phil Boyte Reflection Assignment Looking for an assignment you can use to build on a keynote or guest speaker presentation. Try this one attached above. Phil Boyte spoke at our school. His presentation was excellent and I highly recommend him. His website: http://learningforliving.com/ The day after his session we spent time debriefing what stood out … Continue reading Guest Speaker follow up assignment
Centennial’s Got Butter!!??
Fun lunchtime activity to try. We advertised "Centennial's Got Butter" all over the school and on Instagram. We did a take on America's Got Talent. The Centennial's Got Butter logo looked the same as America's Got Talent. One of our ads put the faces of our teacher judges over the actual AG Talent judges. Using … Continue reading Centennial’s Got Butter!!??
Gen Z may see the world a little different
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR9956gDpUY Tim Elmore from Growing Leaders shared this video and 3 reasons why Generation Z is succeeding where previous generations may have struggled. 1. They can see what we often cannot envision. 2. They will attempt what we often believe is illogical. 3. They can collaborate when we often only feel conflict A great … Continue reading Gen Z may see the world a little different
#storybehindthepicture This has been a successful Instagram feature at Centennial High School which you may want to try. Take a video of a student in black and white. This makes it stand out as different. In less than a minute have them tell the story behind a picture on their phone. Also post the picture … Continue reading #storybehindthepicture
Great Leadership Book – All Blacks Rugby
Looking for a great Leadership book? - Legacy talks about the Leadership attributes that make the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team best in the world. A great read whether or not you are a sports fan. There is a summary of the big ideas below. Enjoy!
On Saturday we were driving through Montana on our way home from a great Spring Break vacation. In one town we stopped for a quick lunch at McDonald's. The restaurant was pretty busy. One cashier I noticed was complaining a fair bit under her breath but loud enough to hear. It was a real contrast … Continue reading Attitude Matters
Easter Egg Smash
We ran a fun and simple activity this week that may work for you. We advertised all around the school about the upcoming Easter Egg Smash. We also filmed a video of a kid getting an egg smashed on his head and put it on Instagram. On the day of we had six volunteers with … Continue reading Easter Egg Smash
Grattitude Class Discussion
Here is a quick lesson on grattitude that worked well with my students the other day. Have each student on their own write down as many things as they can that they are grateful for. Give them 2 minutes and tell them it can be big or small things, just stuff they are grateful for. … Continue reading Grattitude Class Discussion
Leadership Class of 2017
A huge shout out to our 3 year Student Leadership grads. They have made a huge difference in their 3 years at Centennial. At lunch today we had treats, watched the traditional powerpoint with three years of pictures, and handed out the "Oh The Places You'll Go" signed books. Thanks to Ms. McGregor (Mama McGreggs) … Continue reading Leadership Class of 2017
Awesome McHappy Meal Activity
We had a successful lunch time activity at Centennial this week. For the week before we advertised in the school and on Social Media that there would be free McHappy Meals in the cafeteria next Wednesday. To further promote, on the day before we had four leadership students eating McHappy Meals in the cafeteria. The … Continue reading Awesome McHappy Meal Activity
Leadership ran a fun activity as a de-stresser before exams this week. We brought in a children's petting zoo at lunch time. There were sheep, goats, and bunnies. I wasn't sure how it would go. We had a ton of kids come. Lots of smiles, pictures, and chatter on Instagram and Snapchat. One boy said … Continue reading Exam De-Stresser
Red and Green Holiday Challenge
Give the Red and Green challenge a try this holiday season. If it is too late for this year maybe file it for next year. This idea came from a Canadian Student Leadership Conference I attended but I have no idea which one. We invited all staff and students to participate. You come to our … Continue reading Red and Green Holiday Challenge
Coyotes From Around The World
After watching Mark Scharenbroich's Building Connections video with my Gr. 10 class we decided it was time to find a way to recognize the many international students in our school. Permanent flags were a bit too ambitious for us so the students decided to make maps of the different continents and show how many Coyotes … Continue reading Coyotes From Around The World
With a new administration we have had the opportunity to reevaluate some of the Leadership traditions we have at Centennail. For years we have put up student birthdays at our main entrance to the school. We would put up the month and then list all the student names with their first name and first initial … Continue reading Birthdays Matter!!