Tag Archives: Advisor

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 the Raptors. Close your eyes and the music is pounding and the crowd is cheering.  The PA announcers make it sound like the greatest event ever.  It feels exciting to be there, like I am a part of something big.

How does that compare to the events or activities we run at our schools or in our communities?

Not every event should simulate a Raptors game.  But we should think before about how we want our events to look, sound, and feel.  Then plan to make that happen.  Phil Boyte and other Leadership Gurus use this technique to help their students be successful.  Check out the attached lesson plan for a way to make your activities more successful.

Looks Like, Sounds Like, Feels Like – Lesson Plan

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 the warm glow of their cell phones.  They are sending important messages to their friend in math like :

“what’s up”

“nothing”

“what ya doing”

“math”   etc, etc

Fight the Glow!  I give my students the above graphic organizer sheet than can be adapted to any movie, TED talk, or YouTube video.  It gets both sides of the brains going, helps them focus on key ideas, and is not time consuming to mark.  Not guaranteed to eliminate all cell phone glow but it does help.  Good luck!

Whiteboard Declarations of Optimism

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Turns out my Student Leaders are very optimistic about the world and they love to draw on the white board.  Here is how it worked.

First I showed the Lost Generation clip from YouTube.  It starts off seeming like a very negative video but changes half way through to be very positive.  The link is above.  I then invited the class to write down as many things as they could that are great about the world right now or they see as positive for the future.

Then they were encouraged to come up to the whiteboard and write everything positive down they thought was important.  When that was done they could come up and show what they liked that other people wrote by circling it or putting stars beside etc.  What we got as you can see from the picture above was a very messy, awesome declaration of optimism by my class.  They kept talking about all the things they had written down well into the rest of the class.

Give it a try! Now I am going to go outside and positively enjoy the 30C weather we rarely get in Calgary this time of year!

Thumbs Up Thursdays

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This is my friend Braeden.  He is a Leadership superstar at Centennial.  He is also one of the most positive people I know.  He was wearing this shirt the other day and I had to take a picture.  I love the idea of a Thumbs Up Thursday.  Say yes to all the good things in our lives and opportunities that may come our way.  We are starting to promote Thursdays as all about the thumbs up.  Be positive, say yes to opportunities, and spread the enthusiasm.

May your Thursdays always be Thumbs Up!!

Study Buddytastic! Sr. Leadership students act as buddies for Elementary students

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Centennial High School has partnered with Samuel Shaw Middle School, one of our feeder schools, to run a Study Buddy program.  Our Gr. 11 and 12 Leadership students meet once a week with Gr. 5 or 6 Students at S Shaw.  This is the fifth year the program has been running.

Last month when we arrived at Shaw we saw a number of post it notes up where the Gr. 6s were sharing things they love about their school. They talked about favorite classes, lunch, recess, and other cool activities at school.  Two of the notes talked about our Study Buddy program.  I was so impressed that with all the things they could highlight they chose their Study Buddy.  The first note says “Being with my Buddy and playing 2 truths and a lie”.  The second says “Being with my Buddy and getting to know her”.

How does our program work?  We go once a week with our class (Wednesdays) for 45 minutes.  My students come with a lesson plan or activities for the day.  We consult with their teachers before as to what to work on.  In the past we have done science, social studies, reading, and math.  We have also worked on social skills or English as a second language.  This term we are working with the theme of positivity and appreciation as requested by the Gr. 6 teachers.   Last week they got in groups of 4 and put positive post it notes on each other’s backs supporting that week’s theme of validation.  It is critical to not give their teachers more work with another program.  They give us general ideas and then we do the planning and work.

Program Rewards –  When we arrive at the school everyone recognizes our students in their Leadership T-Shirts.  Former Study Buddies high five me in the hallway.  There is an excitement from the Gr. 6s to meet with their Buddy.  My Leadership students feel like they are doing something real and important.  They come with a plan and work hard to make a difference with their buddy.

It is a highlight of every week for me to be a part of this program.  Consider starting a Study Buddy program with one of your neighborhood schools.

Brent Dickson

Leadership Kid or a kid taking Leadership class?

At our retreat this year we asked our students the question – “Are you a Leadership Kid or a kid taking Leadership?”

A Leadership Kid shows up for the lunch time activity.  A kid taking leadership class asks if they have to be there because that is their free time.  A Leadership Kid shows up after school to decorate while a kid taking leadershipclass checks first to see if they get marks for coming.  A Leadership Kid figures out a way to attend an assembly or retreat while a kid taking leadership doesn’t come because they would have to then write a test after school cutting into their time.  A Leadership Kid loves being there, works hard, and usually gets a great grade too.  A kid taking Leadership may get a great grade, or they may not.  But their experience is not near as rich as the Leadership Kid’s.

We encourage our students to be Leadership Kids, not just a kid taking Leadership.

I have attached a sheet that we used at our last retreat.  They brainstormed the differences between a Leadership Kid and a kid taking Leadership.  Then we had them pick three goals for themselves during the semester.  Their goals are posted in the room and at the halfway point and end of term they get to see how they are doing.  Hope this is a help to you.

Be A Leadership Kid 2.0

“I Exist!!!” The Stars (Pawprints) come out out at Centennail

Sometimes an old Leadership idea has new and unexpected results.  Our Gr. 10 Leadership class decided to take Mark Scharenbroich’s idea of “The Stars Come Out” and make it into a St. Patrick’s Day idea. We cut out 2000 green coyote paw prints and put every one of our staff and students names on their own individual paw print.  On the 16th after school we put all of the paw prints up so that they filled the main hallway and make an impression when students came the next day.  On St. Patrick’s Day everyone had a paw print to go find.  Many of the staff and students took their’s home or put it at their desk or locker.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cool Story – A parent told me that evening he saw a green paw print on his son’s bedroom wall and asked what it was.  He was told that the Leadership class had put up everyone’s name.  He spent every class break and lunch looking for his with no luck.  Right after school he noticed a section he missed and there was his name.  He told his Dad that he shouted out   “I Exist!”.  He then brought his paw print home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Students want to feel connected to their school – they want people to know “I Exist!”  There was more social media traffic about this activity than any we have done in the last two months.  Build Connections  – as Mark S says “Connect The Dots”                                                                                                                                                                                                       Below are some of our Leadership 10 students with the paw prints.  They covered six tables.  Nice Bike Lead 10 Yotes!

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Retreat To Move Forward?!

Garbage Bag Fashion Show Centennial H.S. Calgary has three Student Leadership classes each semester.  These are a combination of our Gr. 10 or Sr. classes (gr. 11s and 12s).  At the beginning of each semester we go away for a day with those classes to get to know each other better, receive leadership training, and set the direction for the semester.  Our experience at Centennial has shown that our students progress so much that day.  It used to take us 2-3 weeks of classes to achieve the same results.

What a typical Centennial Leadership Retreat looks like:

1. Mixers and Energizers – get them up and moving, meeting new people, and feeling excited about the day – you can find lots of great resources for these at the Canadian Student Leadership Association website – https://studentleadership.ca/

2. Spirit Groups – divide them as evenly as you can between boys and girls, grades, and mixing the classes – have them introduce themselves to each other and do some mixer activities with each other – then have them introduce themselves to the whole group

3. Leadership Lesson – have them doing something active which teaches a Leadership lesson that will serve you well that semester.

4. Lunch – We are within walking distance of several fast food restaurants.  We give them a longer lunch than they get during a regular school day.  It is important for them to spend time together.  We make sure that everyone is included and no one is left behind.

5. Afternoon energizers – you need to get them engaged after lunch.  This year we started with a modified rock, paper, scissors activity followed by the annual Garbage Bag Fashion Show.  We provide each spirit group with a number of garbage bags.  They dress up their model and have them strut the catwalk.  One year we didn’t do this and were told never to make that mistake again.

6. The Big Leadership Idea – You need to teach them something of significance about Leadership.  Everything you have done up to this point leads up to this moment.  We discussed 16 Leadership traits and debated  which one is the most important.  Lots of great discussion about what is most important as a leader.

If you don’t hold retreats consider adding them to your program.  They don’t have to be  overnight or complicated.  A day away works for us.  If you do retreat keep up the good work!

done up todone done so far in the day is getting them ready for this.  This year we compared 16 different Leadership traits.  Students voted and debated which one was the most important of the 16. If you don’t do retreats consider adding this to your program.  They don’t have to be complex overnight affairs.  A day away works for us.  If you are on the retreat bandwagon then keep it up. W

Can A Short Note In A School Locker Make A Difference? Yes!!

A student came to me yesterday and asked if she could speak to me outside of class.  As we went out she started to cry.  Her grandfather had passed away the day before and that is why she was away from school.  She wanted to tell me that when she came back that morning she found a note in her locker that said “The best is yet to come!” from The Coyote (our school mascot).  She then told me how this short note had made her day and wanted me to thank the leadership class responsible.  I share this story with her permission.

One of our Sr. Leadership classes came up with the idea to put a positive note in each student’s locker this week from the Coyote.  I thought it sounded like a great idea.  Who knew the impact it would have on this student.  It made me think that the positive things we do in schools do make a difference in a way that sometimes we never know.  Keep on doing what you do.

Here are some samples of the student notes:

Think positive and positive things will happen

The best is yet to come

Enjoy the little things in life … for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things

So much to study, so little time (we feel you) GOOD LUCK ON FINALS!

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re probably right

You have to accept whatever comes; the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and give all that you’ve got

If plan A fails remember you have 25 letters left

Your’re just like bacon, you make everything better! (one of my favourites)

Remember the compliments you receive and forget the insults, you’re awesome

Give Up Something Good For Something Better

As a leadership advisor / PE Teacher / Coach / Dad / Husband I am faced with many demands on my time.  I am sure this sounds familiar to many of you.  I returned from the Canadian Student Leadership Conference in Kelowna last week.  For conference highlights check out my Twitter feed or Facebook page. As a result of being gone for a week I was very behind at work with lots of deadlines to deal with.  Special Ed plans had to be submitted, marking done, field trip forms filled out, and marks entered online among many other things.  On top of that I was exhausted and emotionally a little drained  after such a great experience in Kelowna.  So after an unproductive Monday I started to chip away.

On Friday I arrived very early to get stuff done.  About 30 minutes in two leadership students came into my office to pick something up.  We started to visit and 30 minutes later I had got to know them better and maybe even taught them a couple of things.  Now I was 30 minutes behind on my job list.  Later that day in PE I had a student not changed and not wanting to participate.  Instead of losing my mind on him and then moving on to the next thing I took some time to talk to him.  The class activity allowed for me to sit with him and I learned about some of the big challenges he is facing.  I believe these two conversations were the best things I did as a teacher that day.

We are faced with big demands on our time.  We have to constantly choose between good things.  I am working on putting people before forms getting completed etc.  My goal is to keep trying to put people first and drop doing something good for something better!

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