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 from the other workers at the restaurant. I found it irritating to listen to. When we approached the till she said to herself “shoot me now!” refering to who knows what. I couldn’t resist and said with a smile “No thanks, there wouldn’t be anyone to take my order!” She laughed and served us but I noticed a little later she was right back at the complaining.
A couple hours later we pull into Costco with a mission to buy some cheap butter. I decide to top the car up with gas. It is cold and sleet snowing and this one Costco employee is out there by herself sweeping and shovelling snow aside and making sure the pumps work. As I got out she greeted me with a “Happy Easter” and asked how my day was going. If anyone had a reason to complain it was this lady. But she left me with a smile on my face.
We choose our attitude – attitude matters!
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 garbage bags and shower caps on. There were 3 raw and 3 hard boiled eggs. Each contestant chose their egg and a leadership student did the smashing. The raw egg heads were out and the hard boiled carried on to the final round. In the final round there was two raw eggs and one hard boiled. Our winner got a Starbucks gift card and everyone got chocolate for participating. Give it a try – even works when it isn’t Easter!
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.
- Next they share with a partner. Have them name 3 things they are grateful for and then learn 3 things their partner is grateful for. Take turns until time is up. Encourage them to ask each other open ended questions about what they share.
- Invite class members to come to the whiteboard and write down things they are grateful for, big or small. If someone else puts up the same thing put a checkmark beside it.
- Have a group discussion about what they put down. Ask students to share with the class the stuff they think is most important. Share what you think is most important. Let the class decide where the discussion goes.
- Share the following Ted Talk by Louie Schwartzberg about Grattitude https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ
Hopefully you find this useful
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) who put the powerpoint together. We will miss Ms. Marschall who after 5 years as an amazing Leadership Advisor is moving on to Bowness and an 8 minute commute. All the best to our Leadership Grads who we know will make a difference wherever they go. Go Yotes!
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 table was set in the middle with caution tape around and a beautiful table cloth. Lots of students kept coming up and asking what was happening. On Wednesday they found out that four people would get free McHappy Meals but the catch was that they were put in a blender first and then served in a cup. It is important to make sure that students know that the food is blended before they volunteer. That way no one feels pressured to do something they didn’t sign up for. We declared the winner as the student who drank/ate the most after 2 minutes. Prizes went to everyone who participated and they got to keep the toy! Give it a try. Good luck!
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 “This is awesome, I want to take the goat home with me!” My favorite part was the smiles. I love it when an activity can make someone’s day a little better.
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 table at lunch in the cafeteria and we give you either a red or green card with a number on it. You then have a week to find the person with the same number in the opposite color. The two of you then come back to the sign up table and together fill out a simple questionairre that lets them get to know each other a bit better. Their names then go into a draw for a $50 gift certificate each at the local mall.
We are seeing posters like the above picture appearing around the school. There are many more postings on media as they are looking for each other. A simple way to make connections in your school. I would suggest that you have people come to sign up. That way they are actively seeking the other person. One time we handed them out to everyone. I felt bad for students who had a partner who didn’t care and threw out their card.
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 were born in each country. Fortunately we were able to run a list off our student information program. This is another way for us to connect the dots and hopefully make students feel a part of Centennial. Shout out to my Gr. 10s who did an awesome job.
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 of their last name to comply with our privacy rules. A new TV screen was put up where the birthdays were over the summer. The discussion included where we should display the birthdays and should we put them up at all. Here is a summary of what I wrote.
Anecdotal value of recognizing Birthdays and how it helps build connections and community at Centennial
- We have students in our school where their families don’t do anything for their birthday. I have spoken to students in this situation and have been told they appreciate having their name on the wall.
- Every time we put the Birthdays up, a 10 year tradition at Centennial, I see students coming by to find their name or their friend’s name.
- Through the years I have had students come up and tell me that we have missed their name. We quickly get their name up and report back. The most recent time I had this happen was last month. Ideally we wouldn’t miss a name but it does demonstrate that students notice and value seeing their name
There are things that I think don’t matter much and things that are a big deal. I believe that putting Birthdays up is a big deal. When we first started doing it I wouldn’t have said that. But I have seen the positive impact it has on our kids. I know it isn’t changing the world but it does make our school better. It is one thing that allows us to recognize and include every student in our building.
Good news, birthdays will continue to be displayed at Centennail. Keep on building those connections in your schools and lives.