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 with me holding the book up front and making sure they see the pictures. After the page that says “Dreams that actually can come true” I then show them this You Tube video of Chris Hadfield singing Space Oddity on the International Space Station.
Some of the students knew who Chris was in the story but some didn’t put it together until I showed the video. Then I read the last two pages “About Chris Hadfield” and “A Message From Chris” to the class.
When we were finished I had them get in partners and they had 2 minutes to talk about what some of the big leadership ideas were that jumped out at them. In a smaller class I would ask them each to share one thing their partner said that stood out to them. In a bigger class I might just choose a few students to report to the class. I then share the attached assignment with them which invites them to take action on one of their dreams this week. Hope this is a help with your Student Leaders.
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. 🙂 Then have students get in partners. Have them first share one big leadership idea that jumped out to them from the book. Invite some students to share with the class or group what their partner’s big idea was. Then have the partners talk about one thing they could do in the next few days to become a better leader that they learned or were reminded of from Scaredy Squirrel.
Attached is the assignment we hand out. It is a joint effort from Michelle Lowey and myself. The quality of assignments we have gotten back have been great. Enjoy
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!
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.
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.
Last Friday we had a ton of Gr. 10 Leadership students come out to see our Jr. Girls basketball team beat Bishop Carroll 74-57. This took some effort on their part because it was on a Friday night and not at our school. What got them there? I bribed them. I offered them double points to go to the Championship game.
In our Leadership program we have a volunteering section where students earn points for the service they provide in a semester. Recently we added a component where in the semester they have to go to 4 Centennial Non-Leadership sponsored events. This could be a play, art gallery, concert, or sports event. They must wear their blue leadership t-shirts to show that we are supporting other school events.
On the day of the event I offered double points to go to the Championship. I bribed them. The stands were full of loud and proud blue shirts cheering on the team which three of their Leadership classmates were on. They had fun, we won, and they talked all about it on the Monday back in class. They now have another great memory of high school to look back on.
Below are the volunteer sheets and criteria we use at Centennial. Hopefully they are useful to you.
Centennial High School hosted our annual Feeder Leadership Conference. 150 students from Samuel Shaw School and MidSun Jr. High attended. These are the two main schools whose students will eventually be Coyotes. I am very proud of my class pictured above. This was a student planned and run conference with minimal guidance from me.
Why host a Feeder conference?
- It builds stronger relationships with the Leadership programs, both teachers and students of your feeder schools
- It can increase enrollment in your programs as students see what you do and want to be a part of it. Our numbers jumped significantly after hosting our first Feeder.
- It is a great opportunity for your students to plan and run a meaningful event and allows them to connect with their old school and teachers
Attached is our imperfect, student generated program for the day. Hopefully it gives you some ideas and inspires you to host your own feeder conference in the future
The stress that a Student Leadership advisor feels can be pretty intense right before a big student project, activity, pep rally etc. Quality project planning sheets can ease that stress. Attached are the planning sheets we use at Centennial for all our projects. We print them off on green paper and call them green sheets. I suggest you pick a color other than white so they stand out and everyone knows what they are talking about. Once you open the document here are some tips you may find helpful:
- students are expected to have their green sheets with them each class – everyone in the group needs their own copy in case someone is missing on a certain day
- when I work with a group first thing I require is they have their green sheets out and ready to take notes
- this is a working document – the first 4 pages should not be super neat – ideas change and plans do too – cross stuff out, add other good ideas
- the brainstorming page is for writing all good ideas down – it is also the place to put important info that doesn’t fit anywhere else
- there are lists of Must Do, Should Do, and Could Do – this is a challenge for students to figure out what the difference is between each – they often spend most of their time in the Could zone instead of working on the Musts
- Final project review form – students fill out these reflective questions about their project – then as a group they meet with me for an interview about how it all went – a big part of my evaluation is based on this interview
- Last page is to be filed – this is a message to future students – let them know what works and doesn’t work for next time
Thanks to the all-star advisors and programs who through the years have shared their planning ideas with me. My green sheets are a compilation of many ideas I have seen.
If you have any ideas or suggestions please let me know.
School start up is always crazy and hard to explain to someone who isn’t a teacher. In the rush of a million things to get done I asked my Sr. Leadership class (gr. 11s and 12s) to get the September birthdays up ASAP. For almost 10 years now we display all the names (first name and last initial) at our main entrance to Centennial. Sometimes it doesn’t feel appreciated but if they are up late or a name is missed we do hear about it. So we needed to get those September BDays up. I asked Georgia and Josh to organize the whole class to get it done. In one class and a bit the class had them finished and up. Above is a picture of them in action.
Later I thought about how awesome it was to turn that job over and see it done well withoug my supervision or intervention. They are seasoned leadership students who know what to do and care that it is done well.
It was a cool moment and I almost missed it. May you have many cool moments this year and may you not miss them.
I LOVE FIREWORKS!
For a number of years I was a gate supervisor at the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede has an incredible fireworks display that goes off every night at the end of the Grandstand Show. I would always do my best to be in position to enjoy the show. It was the same every night but that didn’t matter. It was great every time. We even had a pool going in the office as to exactly what time they would start. Sadly I think I only won that once.
I did notice that while the fireworks show was on that several people wouldn’t bother to look up. They were preoccupied with something else or in too much of a rush. They were missing out on a great show. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t take a moment to look up and enjoy.
This July 1, Canada Day, I took my boys to an Okotoks Dawgs minor league baseball game. The highlight of the night was the fireworks at the end of the game. The ballpark was packed in anticipation and the show was great. What I enjoyed the most was the squeals of delight from the younger (and some older) kids. It made the show even better.
Let’s all take a moment to enjoy the fireworks in our lives. Don’t be that person who is so busy they don’t have time to look up and be amazed. While we are at it let’s encourage others around us to look up too.