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
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 Dew theme. Students who wear their Be Kind shirts on that day are given two cans of Mountain Dew. One for you and one for someone who is important to you. Each can has a note of thanks on it. Students can wear any of the Be Kind shirts from the past to qualify. Thanks to Weyburn School who gave us the original Be Kind shirt idea.
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 Be Kind days from Weyburn Comprehensive School. We just added a new shirt which looks similar to the retro Coke logo.
If a student wore their Be Kind shirt they received a yellow rose which symbolizes friendship. They were then encouraged to pass the rose on to someone they appreciate. A Leadership student approached Michelle’s Floral Boutique near Centennial and they generously donated 4 dozen yellow roses.
It was fun to watch the yellow roses get passed on throughout the day. There were lots of postings on Instagram and Snapchat featuring the roses.
Sometimes a small gesture can make a difference.
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.
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
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.