Another school year is coming to a close and ‘Weekly Tribes’ is going to take a summer vacation. Here are some suggestions to celebrate the end of a great school year with your students and staff… Draw names and make a certificate for that fellow student or staff member. Get some wallpaper samples to make for some interesting design choices. Certificates can be heartfelt, awards, notable achievements, and just for fun. Have your students compose an “I used to be (not know…) and Now I am (know)” poem and then combine the statements for an introduction to your next year class. Take some time in community circle to celebrate…with pictures, drawings, little fun writing assignments about the beginning of the year to the end. Reflect-reflect-reflect. If you are really ambitious, take the time to write a thank-you card to every one of your students. Have a party and have each student bring some thing to eat that they can prove to be educational – example – phyllo dough in the shape of an open book with chocolate syrup as the writing on the pages?! Have each student pick a teacher from the past and write that teach a thank-you note. (You will make their day!) Have an ‘Energizer Fest’ with students doing to facilitation. Make a ‘Dream Quilt’ about experiences of things learned this year and you have a lovely wall decorated to start next year. See you in August!
Here comes another offering from Catch the Fire. Musician and facilitator Rachel Bagby has created an elegant group reflection tool – a new poetic form called dekaaz. Consisting of three lines with just ten syllables, it’s a simple, fun, and powerful form for distilling and sharing insight. Dekaaz can consolidate a vast amount of experience into a tiny poem, and the brevity offers a democratic way for many voices to be heard in a relatively short amount of time. A dekaaz is constructed like this: two syllabes in the first line three syllables in the second line five syllables in the third line Flowers Are Earth’s way Of laughing out loud – Jeff Vander Clute, executive director, New Stories Rachel says a ten-syllable poem doesn’t officially become a dekaaz until you speak it out loud to another living being. Thus, the dekaaz process is innately interactive. This entry is from page 115-116 in Catch the Fire.
Do you have this book yet? Catch the Fire Details for ‘The AM/FM Conversation’ are on page 87-88 and 91-92. Here’s the gist: Imagine we each have a radio inside – a metaphor for our inner-speak AM = ‘against me’ conversations, FM = ‘For me’ or Forward Moving conversations. Discuss examples of both kinds of ‘talk’. Have participants draw a vertical line on paper and write down examples of their own AM and FM conversations. Share in small groups. Now have each person, in small group, practice talking in the ‘FM’. “If you really knew me you would know…(all ‘FM’ channel). Reflect on how that felt – both as a speaker and as a listener. Finally, invite everyone in full circle to share one FM statement he/she would like to say to him/herself more often. This could be a very Influential strategy. What about using in curriculum?! Apply the AM/FM channels to literary or historical characters, reasons for knowing algebra/geometry, study skills, test-taking, or topics like ‘social media’.
Here’s a fun way to activate some visual/spatial intelligence. Have students draw their names with pictures. Example: “Gary” could draw a bunch of grapes for G, an apple for A, a ring for R, and a blotch of yellow for Y. Once everyone has completed drawings, post or share in groups to guess the names. Or, save for name tags or desk top names. If you really want to pose a challenge, have students draw names in literature or study…or even concepts.
Heads Up! The Compassion Games happen twice a year and You just might want to learn about and get ready for the April games. Here is an intro and the website for more information. Very Tribes-like! [pb_vidembed title="" caption="" url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtHvJO0aXTg" type="yt" w="480" h="385"] Earth Week
Is your community circle purposeful, versatile, effective? Here are some suggestions for changing it up, making it more efficient, or just giving it a new twist. 1 - Use it as a goal setting discussion for the day. (Maybe for those testing days coming up?) 2 - Set a behavior standard - like a random act of kindness to be done on the playground. 3 - Use the 'cares-concerns-compliments-celebrations' topic, collectively or singularly 4 - Incorporate the 'slip game' strategy for random topics. Invite student to contribute 'slip game' questions to keep it fresh 5 - Use a different method for sharing - 'talking stick', koosh ball, student chooses the next to share, popsicle sticks, etc. 6 - Use the community circle for content - correcting or checking homework, or checking progress (for example, in the middle of a writing assignment, have students meet in a community circle and pass papers around so that each may read other's work so far...) 7 - Have a "student choice" day each week for the community circle topic. Students can submit topics ahead of time, or it can be spontaneous 8 - "Vocabulary Circle" - challenge students to use a vocabulary word when addressing the topic at hand 9 - "Current Events Circle" - Invite students to share a current event, opinion, 'headline', etc. 10- Speed spelling - Have a student say a spelling word and the next in succession each say one
How about a reminder and/or a fresh idea for Tribes each week?! For now, you can visit the forum on this site for the feature "weekly Tribes" for just that. We offer a pertinent or timely strategy, a reminder for incorporating more reflection, an idea for ...whatever you might request. This week's entry is for those of you starting the first week of school. Even if you have been in school for some time, this might be a strategy you can still use. Combine the strategies of "what's in my name" and "bubble letters". Invite students to write a name poem - you can incorporate language mechanics, conventions, standards, etc. to make it more than just simple inclusion, if you like.... K - Kind of likes vegetables A - Always tries, ardently, to sleep in a few more minutes (add an adverb) T - Tries to tell the truth, totally (alliterative) E - Every time I can, I pick up litter; I don't touch gross stuff. (use a semicolon) Then, invite students to create the bubble letter cut-out of their names. On this, they can draw, or otherwise visually represent their interests, accomplishments, goals, dreams, etc. Put the two together and you have a linguistic, visual, intra-personal representation of each student to display for your up-coming back to school event. As always, let your objectives be known, and reflect on the experience. And don't hesitate to share your comments and