Activity: Creativity/Innovation

Unleashing Student Creativity and Innovation!

Imagine a world where students are given the same freedom to innovate as engineers at Google, who spend 20% of their time on passion projects. What could our students achieve with similar flexibility to pursue their own genius?

This blog post explores the concept of the "Genius Project," a commitment to creativity and personal growth. Students will brainstorm ideas, write proposals, dedicate time each week to their projects, and present their results—all while tying their efforts to their top motivators and skills. Join us in redefining student potential and fostering a new wave of creativity and innovation.

The Goal

Google, a company with a reputation for innovation, gives its engineers one day a week to work on a passion project. That’s right—20% of their billing time is spent pursuing ideas and interests that may only loosely tie back to their workflow. What would happen if we gave students the same flexibility? What if we gave them the time to pursue their own genius?

Note: This exercise is a commitment. It requires time and a willingness to engage in serious exploration and growth over the course of months.

Optional Add-On: To develop “Time and Priority Management” and “Planning and Organizing” skills, write a proposal that includes how you plan to manage your time over the course of this project and define the different tasks you must complete before the project is considered complete. Essentially, you will submit a detailed plan of how you will carry your project out and manage your own time over the planned timeframe of the project.

Step 1:

Brainstorm what your “Genius Project” could be. Your ideas should be specific to you as an individual. Your passion project must be tied to your top one or two Motivators so start brainstorming by looking at your Motivators on your Indigo Summary Page. 

Examples of ideas: starting and growing a new club at school for people interested in coding or investing, building a business, planning a school-wide volunteering day, writing and producing a one-act show for students, leading a full-fledged fundraiser for an initiative that you care about, managing your school’s social media initiatives, learning to build a website from scratch, working on a massive art project or performance, etc.

Step 2:

Write a one-page proposal. The proposal should explain the overall project scope and also how it fits your top one or two Motivators. You should explain how you plan to utilize your top five Skills from your Indigo Summary Page to execute your project. Hold yourself accountable to picking a project that fits you and is sufficiently challenging.

Step 3:

Spend one or two hours a week pursuing your project. This project can be as long or as short as you would like it to be, but the sweet spot is at least 15-20 hours—enough time for you to develop serious projects with a large scope of work.

Step 4:

Create a presentation about the end results of your project. This can be in any form you choose—presentation, essay, collage, video, website, etc. – as long as it is clear that the results reflect your true genius and genuine effort. In your final presentation of the project, you should demonstrate how the project tied in to your top  Motivators and how you used your top Skills to successfully complete the project.

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Activity: Continuous Learning

Dedicate yourself to the pursuit of continuous learning, a lifelong journey that embraces curiosity, inquiry, and the expansion of your expertise and skills. This blog post showcases what it means to be a lifelong learner, explores various methods to achieve continuous learning, recognizes your existing efforts, and helps you commit to ongoing growth both personally and professionally.

Engage in the activity to learn more and lay a foundation for perpetual learning, ensuring success in school, life, and work.

The Goal

Being a continuous, lifelong learner involves making a commitment to pursuing questions, engaging in inquiry, and expanding one’s areas of expertise and skill. This activity is designed to provide an opportunity to define lifelong learning, to acknowledge the ways in which one is already a lifelong learner, and to commit to always continuous learning in school, at work, and in life.

Step 1:

Read 50 Ways to Be A Lifelong Learner at Home.

Step 2:

As you read, take notes using the format below, or print the template in the PDF below (click “Download PDF” to view).

Step 3:

What commitment will you make to engage in continuous learning in your work and in your life? Write down your commitment.

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Activity: Conflict Management

Conflict is often viewed as a source of tension and discomfort, something to be avoided at all costs. However, beneath the surface lies a powerful catalyst for innovation and growth. Some of the most profound ideas emerge from the depths of conflict, yet many shy away due to a lack of effective conflict resolution skills. In this blog post, we present a six-part process to empower you to navigate conflicts confidently, whether in school, life, or your career.

The Goal

Some of the best new ideas result from fully engaging in conflicts. Many people avoid conflict because they have not learned the skills necessary to create productive conflict. This activity will give you a six-part process you can use whenever you encounter conflict.

Step 1:

Read the short article, “The Proven Six-Step Tool for Conflict Resolution”. As you read, consider the extent to which you have or have not used these six strategies when engaging in conflicts in the past.

Step 2:

Consider your skills in these six strategy areas and rank them from your strongest skill to your weakest skills, with 1 being your strongest skill and 6 being your relatively weakest skill.

Conflict Management Ranking Table

Step 3:

Set a goal for your part in the next important conflict situation you encounter. What will you do more of? What will you do less of?

Goal 1: I will do more……

Goal 2: I will do less…….

Step 4:

As you go through the next week, observe the conflicts you are involved in, both large and small. Use these situations as opportunities to practice the Six-Step Tool for Conflict Resolution, and then reflect on these questions:

What did you learn about conflict as you used the Six-Step Tool?

What did you learn about yourself as you used the Six-Step Tool?

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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.

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