Activity: Analytical Problem Solving

We all encounter challenges in various aspects of our lives, whether it's at school, in our communities, or within ourselves. However, simply identifying these problems is just the beginning of the journey. Our goal is to shift the focus from merely complaining about problems to actively collaborating on solutions and implementing the best ones.

In this post, we'll explore a structured approach to analytical problem solving, empowering you to tackle any big-picture issue or question with confidence. From identifying complaints to brainstorming solutions and refining them, we'll guide you through each step.

And remember, analytical thinking is a skill that extends beyond problem-solving exercises. We'll explore additional ways to hone your analytical skills, from playing brain games to utilizing online analytical tools in your daily life.

Are you ready to transform problems into opportunities for growth and innovation? Let's get started!

The Goal

When it comes to analytical problem solving, identifying the problem is only the first step. We want to create solutions! Shift the mindset away from complaining about problems to collaborating on solutions and implementing the best ones.

Note: You should become familiar with the “Yes, And” technique to do this exercise successfully. Learn more about the Yes, And Technique

This exercise can be repurposed to tackle any big-picture issue or question.

Step 1:

Think about your complaints about your school. Do you hate the food? Do you wish the classrooms had more light? Do the bathrooms smell? Write them down. The problems could be about anything – school, friends, family or your community.

Step 2:

Set a timer and come up with as many solutions as you can in 5 minutes. Write them on post-it notes. The goal of Part 2 is quantity, not quality. Challenge yourself to come up with as many crazy ideas for solutions as you can.

Step 3:

Pick your top 3 – 5 ideas and use the “Yes, And” technique to improve them. How can these ideas be made better? Which are feasible to do? How can you make each solution more tangible? Add more post-its and create an affinity diagram to answer these questions for your top 3 – 5 ideas.

More information on affinity diagrams can be found here.

Other ways to build analytical thinking skills: Play brain games online at Lumosity or common games like Sudoku, chess, backgammon and Scrabble.

You can also try incorporating online analytical apps and tools into your daily habits. MyFitnessPal, Mint – a budget manager and tracker, Google Analytics, and other data based apps are great ways to track your habits and improve analytical thinking.

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Exploring Indigo’s SEL Activities: Enhancing Learning Through Fun

In today's educational landscape, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has become increasingly vital in nurturing well-rounded individuals. At Indigo, we're dedicated to integrating SEL seamlessly into classroom activities, making learning both enriching and enjoyable.

Our SEL activities cover a wide spectrum, from fostering empathy and resilience to promoting teamwork and self-awareness. Through engaging exercises, discussions, and interactive games, students develop crucial life skills that go beyond academic achievement.

The Goal

To advocate for the importance of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in education, introduce Indigo’s SEL activities, and encourage educators and parents to incorporate SEL into their practices by highlighting the benefits and resources available through Indigo’s booklet. Additionally, to create awareness about the impact of SEL on students’ holistic development and inspire a culture of empathy, resilience, and empowerment in educational settings and at home.

Dive into Indigo’s SEL activities and transform your classroom into a dynamic learning environment!

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed!

Whether you’re a teacher looking to infuse SEL into your curriculum or a parent interested in supporting your child’s holistic development, our booklet offers a treasure trove of resources.

Download our booklet today to access a comprehensive collection of fun and impactful activities. With a handy copy at your fingertips, you’ll be ready to spice up your classroom and empower students to thrive socially, emotionally, and academically.

Join us on the journey of fostering resilient, empathetic, and empowered learners. Together, let's cultivate a culture of kindness, collaboration, and growth!

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Activity: Ideal Environment

Discovering the perfect learning environment is key to unleashing student potential. In this exercise, students explore their preferences using the Indigo Report. They envision their ideal class or job, sharing their visions and understanding their unique needs. Through reflection and discussion, students embrace their individuality, paving the way for a more fulfilling educational journey.

The Goal

This exercise helps students understand they need to find and create environments that fit who they naturally are.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Academic: 
Creativity; Results Orientation; Positive Attitude. 
Career: Self Advocacy; Self Motivation / Self Direction; Critical Thinking.
Social/Emotional: Sense of Belonging; Self Confidence; Communication; Whole Self.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Indigo Report
  • Pencils and paper

Step 1:

Have students read the Your Ideal Environment section of the Indigo Report. Have them star the things that are important to them.

Step 2:

Have students describe the “perfect class” or “perfect job” by either drawing a picture or writing. It’s important to communicate to the group that students will have different desires for their school and work environment—and that is okay. It’s not about conforming, but about better understanding what you need. When finished, ask students to share with the group.

Here are a few questions you can use to guide the conversation:

  • Would the teacher call on you often or not at all?
  • What would the room look like?
  • Would you work in teams or on your own?
  • Are you graded on projects, tests, book reports or something else?

Example: A student sees her report says she likes “Work tasks that change frequently.” She writes about a classroom where activities are different every single day.

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Activity: Understanding Your Behavior

In today's fast-paced world, understanding oneself and others is paramount for personal growth and effective collaboration. In this blog post, we delve into a simple yet powerful Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) activity aimed at uncovering unique strengths and fostering a deeper appreciation for individual differences. Join us as we explore how this activity cultivates self-awareness, empathy, and a sense of belonging, ultimately empowering students to thrive both academically and socially.

The Goal

This exercise not only reinforces self-awareness of unique strengths and skills, but how to listen and understand the strengths, skills, and styles of others.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Academic:
Results Orientation; Communication; Collaboration; Social Maturity.
Social/Emotional: Building Positive Peer Relationships; Self Confidence; Sense of Belonging; Empathy.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Indigo Report
  • Pencil and paper

Step 1:

Divide students into pairs. Emphasize to the students that this exercise is about highlighting strengths, not weaknesses.  Have students read their partner’s About You page from the Indigo Report. Have them star things they think are accurate about the other person.

Example: Jack discovers that what stuck out most to his partner about him is “likes to win through persistence.” He thinks about how he could apply that mentality toward the college environment.

Step 2:

Swap reports back and have students star things that stand out on their individual report. Give students time to talk about why they starred the things that they did on each report.

Step 3:

Ask the following questions:

  • How did it feel to hear about yourself?
  • Were there any similarities between you and your partner?
  • How can you better use your style at home and school?

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Activity: Guest Speaker

In education, fresh perspectives can be transformative, especially when tackling complex issues. Let's take a look into the power of inviting guest speakers to address students, shedding light on problems from different angles and providing invaluable insights.

By incorporating outside voices, students gain new approaches to navigate challenges they face. Tailored to the social-emotional learning (SEL) framework and ASCA Mindset & Behaviors, this guide outlines steps to select speakers relevant to student needs, emphasizing the importance of understanding group dynamics for effective communication. Whether addressing self-confidence, interpersonal relationships, or self-identity, leveraging guest speakers offers a dynamic tool for student empowerment and growth.

The Goal

A guest can offer a fresh perspective, helping students see issues in a new light and providing them with alternative approaches to tackle their challenges.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


The ASCA Mindset & Behaviors addressed depends on what the speaker presents to the students.

Materials

  • Varies based on how you tailor this exercise

Step 1:

Find a speaker who can speak on a topic that seems relevant to your students (i.e. self confidence, relating to others, sense of self).

Example: If your students particularly struggle with negative self-image, bring in a speaker to address that. The speaker could have expertise on how to promote positive body image, or positive self-talk.

Step 2:

Schedule a time for the guest speaker. The guest can be woven into any of the other exercises, or this can be a stand-alone topic on a certain issue.

Note: Use the DISC and Motivators of your group to help prep your speaker. Are your students High D’s who want to be spoken to directly and firmly? Are they motivated by Social and therefore want to know how they can use this information to help others?

Step 3:

After the speaker’s presentation, allow your students some time, ranging from a few minutes to a few days, to reflect on the ideas shared. Lead a follow-up discussion where students can articulate their newfound perspectives, propose solutions to the challenge discussed, or pose additional questions. 

Step 4:

Finally, compile the students’ insights into a Thank You note to the guest, showcasing their engagement and appreciation for the valuable perspective shared.

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Motivation Masters: Uncover Your Drive

Motivators are the driving force behind what truly matters to you. They ignite your passion for learning, touch your heart, and fuel your excitement. When someone disregards or overlooks your top Motivators, it can leave you feeling disappointed and disconnected.

Think of Motivators as the engine beneath the hood of a car. While not immediately visible from the outside, they are what propel you forward. Understanding your Motivators is crucial when making decisions about your future because they directly correlate with fulfillment and meaning. In fact, most people find the greatest happiness when they choose a career and company culture aligned with their top two Motivators.

Where to Find your Motivators?

Here’s how to navigate your Motivators on your Indigo Assessment Report! 🌟Explore the Motivator page (resembling the one in this image) to read in-depth descriptions about your top two motivators and understand their impact on your life. What resonates with you in these descriptions? How do your Motivators manifest in your daily choices? Uncover the roadmap to unlocking your potential and aligning your choices with your core driving forces.

The Six Motivators

Traditional – Desire to live by a personal set of principles, standards, or beliefs.

Utilitarian – Desire for a return on investment of time, energy, or money.
Theoretical – Desire to learn for the sake of knowledge.
Social – Desire to help others or solve society’s problems.
Individualistic – Desire for independence, visibility, rank, or power.
Aesthetic – Desire for form, harmony, balance, or beauty.

Identifying and honoring your top motivators allows you to align your career, education, and life choices with your core values. Whether it’s the pursuit of knowledge, independence, or making a positive impact on society, your motivators lead you toward meaning and purpose. Encouraging students and career seekers to recognize and nurture their motivators empowers them to shape their own futures, paving the way for a life of passion and fulfillment.

Motivator Activity: Design Your Dream School

Duration: 1 hour (can be adjusted based on available time or split into two sessions)

Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Engage: Begin by explaining the concept of Motivators and their importance in shaping our interests and passions. We recommend using the information in the slides and videos above as a starting point. Have students review their motivator scores from their Indigo Reports.
  • Group Formation: Divide students into groups based on their top motivators. If there aren’t enough students in certain motivator groups (such as Traditional) have them join their second motivator. If some groups are too big, divide them into two groups.

Brainstorming Session (20 minutes)

  • Task Explanation: Explain to students that they will be designing their dream school based on their group’s top motivator. Encourage creativity and imagination.
  • Brainstorming: Provide each group with paper and markers. Instruct them to brainstorm and sketch out their ideal school, considering aspects like building design, schedule, clubs, activities, classes, and interactions between students and adults.

Presentation (15 minutes)

  • Creative Presentation: Allow each group to present their dream school in a creative manner – whether through a skit, song, picture collage, or any other form they prefer.
  • Feedback from Other Motivators: After each presentation, ask students from other groups to provide feedback. What aspects did they like about the proposed school? What aspects did they find challenging or lacking?

Reflection and Discussion (15 minutes)

  • Reflection: Facilitate a discussion where students reflect on their own school experiences in comparison to the dream schools presented. Encourage students to identify ways they can incorporate elements of their dream school into their current educational environment.
  • Action Plan: Guide students in creating actionable steps to fulfill their motivators within their current school setting. This could involve joining relevant clubs, advocating for new activities, or seeking work-based-learning or mentorship opportunities.

Conclusion (5 minutes)

  • Wrap-Up: Summarize the key insights gained from the activity and emphasize the importance of understanding and nurturing one’s motivators.
  • Encouragement: Encourage students to continue exploring their motivators and finding ways to align their passions with their academic and extracurricular pursuits.
This activity not only fosters creativity and collaboration but also empowers students to take ownership of their educational journey by recognizing and leveraging their intrinsic motivations.

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Activity: 5-4-3-2-1 Game (Stress Coping Techniques for Students)

Discover powerful stress coping techniques tailored for students in this insightful blog. Empower your students with effective strategies for navigating challenges and promoting a positive mindset.

The Goal

The point of this exercise is to teach students a coping mechanism to help handle stress, panic attacks, or emotional overload.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Career: Take Responsibility; Overcoming Obstacles; Positive Attitude.
Social/Emotional: Coping Skills; Self Advocacy; Whole Self; Self Confidence.

Materials

  •  Circle of chairs
  • Pencil and paper

Step 1:

 Have everyone sit down (either on a chair or the ground) and think about five colors they see.

Step 2:

Have students think about four sounds they hear.

Step 3:

Have students touch three objects in the room and think about how they feel (they can move during this exercise).

Step 4:

Have students think of two smells.

Step 5:

Have students think of the one taste of their favorite food.

Example: I see the colors blue, grey, white, green, and red; I hear crickets, the air conditioning, people walking, and my breathing; I feel my pen, the carpet, and my shirt; I smell fresh air and my shampoo; I remember the taste of mocha-flavored ice cream.

Incorporating these five stress coping steps into their routine can be a powerful tool for students navigating challenging moments. By grounding themselves in the present through colors, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes, students create a mental sanctuary amidst stress, cultivate a sense of mindfulness, and regain control over their emotional responses. Students are encouraged to embrace these steps in moments of stress or frustration, finding solace and resilience in the simple act of reconnecting with their immediate sensory experiences.

Activity: 5-4-3-2-1 Game (Stress Coping Techniques for Students) Read More »

Activity: Listening

Welcome to our latest blog post where the focus is on the transformative power of active listening in the realm of social-emotional learning (SEL). First let us talk about “Why is it important to listen?

Listening is not just a passive activity but an active skill that plays a vital role in personal, professional, and social aspects of life. Listening is crucial for several reasons:

  • Understanding: Effective listening allows you to comprehend information accurately, ensuring you grasp the nuances and details of a conversation or message.
  • Communication: Good listeners contribute to better communication by receiving and interpreting messages correctly. This, in turn, fosters clear and meaningful dialogues.
  • Relationship Building: Active listening strengthens relationships. When people feel heard and understood, it promotes trust and connection, whether in personal or professional interactions.
  • Problem-Solving: Listening is essential for problem-solving. By understanding different perspectives and concerns, you can collaboratively work towards effective solutions.
  • Conflict Resolution: In conflicts, attentive listening helps identify the root causes and enables empathetic responses, facilitating smoother conflict resolution.
  • Learning: Listening is a fundamental aspect of learning. In educational settings or professional development, absorbing information through attentive listening enhances knowledge acquisition.
  • Empathy: Being a good listener demonstrates empathy. It shows that you value others’ thoughts and feelings, contributing to a more compassionate and understanding community.

In this engaging session, students will not only understand the value and validation that active listening provides but will also get hands-on practice in delivering it to others.

The Goal

Students will learn the value and validation that active listening provides, and they will practice providing it to others.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Academic:
Communication / Listening.
Career: Social Maturity / Appropriate Behavior; Open Perspective.
Social/Emotional: Building Positive Peer Relationships; Empathy; Collaboration.

Materials

  • Chairs arranged in pairs facing each other
  • Indigo Report

Step 1:

Divide students into pairs: one speaker, one listener. Facing each other in chairs, have the speaker talk for 30 seconds about any topic they choose.

Step 2:

The listener must try to summarize what the speaker told them. The speaker can (politely) correct them if they are wrong.

Step 3:

Repeat this exercise as many times as desired with new pairs. You can also have the listener ask a question about what they heard and summarize the answer.

Step 4:

Group debrief/retrospect on what was heard/learned.

Note: To challenge students, have them look at their partner’s Do’s: …How Other People Should Communicate with You section on their Indigo Report to understand the best way to communicate and listen with them.

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Activity: Talent Show

In this blog, we will delve into an empowering exercise designed to elevate students’ self-esteem and illuminate the myriad possibilities that lie ahead. Our keyword for this exploration is “talent,” as we guide students through a unique Talent Show experience.

The Goal

This exercise is designed to boost the self-esteem of the students—it also shows them that there are many ways for them to use their talents in life. Reminding students that there are plenty of options in the future is important to keep them inspired to move forward.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Academic:
Creativity; Self Motivation / Self Direction.
Career: Collaboration / Cooperation; Results Orientation; Identifying Goals.
Social/Emotional: Building Supportive Adult Relationships; Self Confidence; Sense of Belonging.

Materials

  • Chairs arranged audience style
  • Indigo Report
  • Pencil and paper

Step 1:

The week before this exercise, tell students to write down a talent they want to display or perform. Tell them to feel free to be creative.

Step 2:

Allow each student time to share their talent with the group. After the student has shared, use the Indigo Report to brainstorm what sort of education or career futures could utilize their talents and abilities. You can use pages on the Indigo Report such as the Potential Degree Matches page to help make connections between the talent and real world opportunities.

Example: A student brings in a short story to share. You look at her Indigo Report and see she’s also a High I. She could do very well in journalism, travel writing, or advertising.

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Activity: Practicing Resiliency

In a world that often emphasizes success, we encourage you to dive deep and embrace a paradigm shift as we learn about practicing resiliency. Explore the transformative power that lies in the art of welcoming failure as a catalyst for unparalleled growth and continuous learning. This blog unravels the layers of resilience, demonstrating how setbacks can serve as stepping stones to greater achievements. Discover the power of a growth mindset that turns challenges into opportunities.

The Goal

This exercise is designed to remind students that “failure” is not a bad thing—our mistakes are usually the best learning experiences in our lives!

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:

Academic: Critical Thinking; Open Perspective / Informed Decisions; Taking Challenges.
Career: Perseverance; Overcoming Obstacles; Handling Change/Adapting.
Social/Emotional:
Life-Long Learning; Self-Confidence.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Indigo Report

Step 1:

Show this clip from Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. It’s a perfect example of how failure can be a good thing.

Step 2:

Have students share with the group a time they failed, how they felt, and what they learned.

Example: A student shares a time he missed the details in a project causing him to get a low grade. The student talks about how he learned to:
1. Pay attention to details.
2. Ask questions or communicate with the teacher to clarify details.

Note: Reference the Skills page in the students’ Indigo Reports—some students’ past failures may actually have resulted in certain skills being more developed.

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