Author name: Sheri Smith

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.

Activity: Guest Speaker Read More »

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.

Motivation Masters: Uncover Your Drive Read More »

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.

Activity: Listening Read More »

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.

Activity: Talent Show Read More »

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.

Activity: Practicing Resiliency Read More »

Activity: Embracing the Glimmers of Life

Discover a game-changer for your mindset: the power of “glimmers.” Unlike triggers, these are tiny moments that bring joy, peace, and gratitude. Train your brain to spot these glimmer micro-moments, and watch as they multiply in your daily life. 

For many of us, the holidays are a very tough time.  Before you head out for the winter break, consider sharing this with your students and those you serve.

The Goal

By cultivating awareness of these positive moments, this activity will help foster resilience and well-being, especially during challenging times in life.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:

Social/Emotional: Positive attitude, coping skills, resilience

Materials

  • Pencil and Paper
  • Journal Book

Guided Questions:

Engage in student learning reflections by posing open-ended questions. Feel free to guide the conversation in any direction you see fit.

  • What is a glimmer you have experienced today? 
  • How can you recognize and acknowledge the glimmers in your life on a regular basis?
  • Ask your students to keep a journal over the break with the glimmers they experience.

Instructions:

  1. Reflect Daily: Take a moment each day to reflect on and identify a “glimmer”—a small moment that brings joy, happiness, peace, or gratitude.
  2. Self-Expression: Consider how you can express or acknowledge these glimmers. It could be through a mental note, a few written words, or any other form of self-expression.
  3. Glimmer Journal: Keep a journal dedicated to recording these moments during the winter break. Capture the essence of each glimmer, no matter how small or fleeting.
  4. Sharing Experience: In January, come together and share some of the glimmers from your journal. This could be done through a discussion, a written reflection, or any creative method you prefer.
  5. Positive Awareness: Encourage a mindset shift towards noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of each day. Through this practice, participants can enhance their well-being and resilience.

    Make sure you also ask yourself the same questions.

Share Your Glimmer of the Day with Us!

Activity: Embracing the Glimmers of Life Read More »

Activity: The Wrap Up

Welcome to a reflective journey!  In this blog, we delve into meaningful Student Learning Reflections, exploring the valuable takeaways from SEL sessions.  From open-ended questions to shared insights, this is more than a reflection—it’s a story of personal growth.

The Goal

The goal of this exercise is to talk about what students learned from these sessions and what they see as practical lessons they can use in their lives.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Career: Take Responsibility; Handling Change / Adapting; Self Advocacy.
Social/Emotional: Self Confidence; Sense of Belonging; Building Positive Peer. Relationships; Self Motivation / Self Direction; Perseverance; Overcoming Obstacles.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Pencil and Paper

Instructions:

Engage in student learning reflections by posing open-ended questions. Feel free to guide the conversation in any direction you see fit.

  • What will you take away from this group?
  • What will you continue working on?
  • Was there any one exercise that stuck out to you?
  • Did you bond with any of the students in this group?
  • Did this give you any unique ideas of how to do things in your life?

Note: If you are doing any sort of post-test / feedback form over this experience, doing it during this exercise would be the ideal time.

Activity: The Wrap Up Read More »

Activity: How to Communicate with Others

Welcome to a transformative journey in communication! In this blog, we’re delving into the diverse tapestry of human interaction. The goal is simple yet profound. Armed with the insights from the Indigo Report, we’ll explore the art of connecting with those who may communicate differently.

The Goal

The objective is to explain to students how people are different, and how they can use their unique communication style to connect with students who are not like them.

As we navigate through Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness, and Compliance, we uncover gems of wisdom. Highs discovering the importance of making room for Lows, acknowledging the unique perspectives each brings to the table.

Join the conversation: What makes Highs and Lows feel comfortable communicating? Are there communication styles you resonate with or find challenging? Share your thoughts and be part of a community celebrating the richness of diverse communication styles. Together, let’s explore, connect, and amplify the power of understanding how we communicate with others.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Academic:
Communication; Building Positive Peer Relationships; Results Orientation.
Social/Emotional: Sense of Belonging; Self Advocacy; Communication; Perseverance.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Indigo Reports
  • Pencil and Paper

Step 1:

Split the room into two groups—those above 50 Dominance and those below 50 Dominance. Review the unique strengths of each and how not to communicate with them by using the DISC Reference Guide in the Indigo Report. Feel free to ask the following questions:

  • What are some things we can do to make both Highs and Lows feel comfortable communicating?
  • Are there any High D’s or Low D’s that would like to share how they communicate with others

Make sure to reinforce that there are no better or worse styles. Research shows the best performing teams have a mixture of highs and lows in all categories.

Step 2:

 Do the same for Influencing, Steadiness, and Compliance.

Example: When going over High Influencing and Low Influencing, one take away may be that Highs need to make room for Lows to speak up in group projects—because the Low I’s may be observing details High I’s miss.

Step 3:

Have students go back to their seats and either write one paragraph or draw a picture talking about their strengths and potential challenges.

Activity: How to Communicate with Others Read More »

Activity: Positive Self-Talk

Unlock the transformative power to control thinking patterns, foster self-confidence, and embrace a positive self-view. In the words of Russ Kyle, “Watch what you tell yourself; you’re likely to believe it.” These words beautifully align with the essence of the ‘Activity: Positive Self-Talk,’ which aims to illuminate the profound connection between our internal narratives and beliefs.

Through this empowering exercise, participants gain insights into the influential role of self-dialogue, realizing that the stories we tell ourselves significantly impact our beliefs, actions, and overall well-being. Ready to embark on this journey of self-discovery and empowerment? Let’s rewrite your story together.

The Goal

The purpose of this exercise is to teach students to control their thinking patterns and view themselves in a positive light.

RAMP (ASCA) Mindset & Behaviors addressed and developed:


Career: Empathy; Teamwork.
Social/Emotional: Self-Confidence; Positive Attitude; Perseverance; Sense of Belonging; Coping Skills; Results Orientation; Self Motivation / Self Direction.

Materials

  • Circle of chairs
  • Indigo Reports
  • Pencil and Paper

Step 1:

Ask students to think of an example of negative self-talk they tell themselves frequently.

Step 2:

Pair students up and have them tell their partner something they like about who they are.

Use the Summary Page in the Indigo Report and look at Strengths and Value to a Team to help reinforce positive self talk.

Step 3:

Have students practice the exercise on their own. In the next session, ask students to share stories about how positive self talk affected their week.

Note: Instead of a student telling himself “I’m too fat”, we want to reinforce “I’m a great listener, and I make people laugh.”

Activity: Positive Self-Talk Read More »

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