Here are some hopefully fresh ideas for the early days of Advisory. I also included some tips on facilitating that are worth considering to help build a group that is willing to talk about things. I hope to begin posting these to a blog from the website, so they will be easily referenced. If you don't like what you see, let me know.
Toss A Name Redux
Most of us have played Toss-A-Name- take an object, say your name and toss the object to someone else, they say their name and everyone else prior to the object getting to them, in sequence. Try some other interests or favorites:
Have upper class students plan a “Hidden MMU” tour for Freshmen and new students (or teachers). Be creative. It might not be just about places but include tips, tricks, where/who to go for what. Take the tour the next Advisory.
What makes advisory work/ not work.
I have had this conversation early on almost every year. Write responses down on paper or board. It provides a fresh start for shaping things a bit differently and also sets up group norms and expectations.
When the invariable “it works when we do fun stuff” comment comes, I respond with “well, what IS fun?”. I also make it clear that I will be a contributing member of the group, but not the one generating every idea and activity.
Two Truths and a Lie- Summer Edition
Classic. Each student says two things about their summer that is true, and one that is a lie. The rest of us guess which is which. This could, of course, be opened up to anything about the person, not just limited to summer.
In the first couple of weeks, have a conversation about what our Advisory would like to do/ accomplish this year. This helps identify past successes, things they have heard happening elsewhere, things they want to do differently. The follow up question is “how can we make this happen?” Write your group goals down and post them.
One function Advisory has come to serve is the opportunity to discuss important student, school and community issues. There are a couple of things that can be done early to help that process go more smoothly later on:
Use a consistent space
Sit in a circle
Close in proximity
Comfortable space conducive to sharing
Void of Distractions
Debrief/ Discuss Early and Often- Establish an early expectation of sharing thoughts, feeling and reactions, even if it is a simply a quick response. Challenge students over time to look at something with more depth or detail.
“Hits” are a measurement of the reach and efficacy of a website. If we think of our students as websites, some students get lots of hits, both positive and negative, some get very few. Offering positive, honest “hits” will loosen up the most resistant student over time.
Default with Curiosity
We will, of course, have personal reactions to behaviors or resistance. Responding with curiosity rather than frustration or indignation will open opportunities to find out what is really behind a given behavior