For MS and HS Teachers: Month 5

Week One

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

This week we’re going to focus on creativity. Give all students a 3 X 5 card AND a post-it note. Queue up today’s video.

On the board, write two bullet points:

  • Everyone is creative
  • Creativity does not just depend on one part of the brain

Today we’re going to watch a video on creativity. Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind maping, is going to give us seven keys to creativity, and this week we’re going to practice all seven of them. I want you to have the whole concept, but just so you know, today we are just going to focus on the first two points, which I’ve written on the board.

Show the video.

prompt

Prompt

Shorten sharing time to :40 total. (You’ll need any remaining time to collect the 3×5 cards or have students post them in the classroom.)

Our sharing time is shorter because the video was long…  On the top of your 3×5 card like a header, write, “Everyone is creative.” Then, in your pairs, take 45 seconds to share verbally with your partner and to write on your card and on your post-it note one way in which you are creative. We’re going to post our notes here in the classroom but I want you to keep your cards so you can keep adding more and more ways you realize you are creative.

Connecting

Connecting

Take a moment to have kids post their ideas. Make a list and make it available to them electronically or on paper for future reference.

Daily Challenge

In the next few days we’re going to add to our understanding of creativity. Keep your card with you and throughout the week add to the ways you realize you are creative.

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

On the board, write “Fluency — how rapidly we generate new thoughts.”

Today we’re going to do a quick activity to become more aware of our own fluency. In your pairs today, we’re going to do our sharing time differently than we usually do. I’m going to give you a word to start with, but instead of taking turns listening and sharing, you are going to take turns over and over with each person just throwing out one word or idea and then the other person replies and it just bounces back and forth. An example of that might be that the starting word is “rocket” and the next person says “space” and then “planets” then “stars” then “astronauts”  and so on. We call it “free association” when we just let our minds associate things one after another. Let yourself be really creative and don’t just say the obvious… think outside of the box!

prompt

Prompt

Your starting word is “tree.”

Connecting

Connecting

Today for our connecting time, reflect on the words that came up, and share the ones you think were most creative or unusual.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, whenever you have time, look at an object and see how many different creative associations you can make in the next 15 seconds.  Also, see if someone in your family will do this with you tonight.

Day 3
Introduction

Introduction

Write “Originality of thought. How many uses for a coat hanger can you come up with?”

Below it write “Hangar” and draw a rough outline of an airplane hangar with just one airplane inside.

Today we’re going to focus on the next aspect of creativity. This is about thinking outside of the box. Remember in the film, Tony Buzan said that if we say “a coat hanger is for hanging up coats” that is obvious, not creative, but if we thought of using it somehow to create energy to send up a rocket, that would be super creative… probably not possible, but we don’t have to focus on being possible so much as creative.

prompt

Prompt

We’re going to put a fun twist on his example. Instead of a coat hanger, we’re going to use a homonym;  think of an airplane hangar. That would be a building that would be like a garage for an airplane. Yesterday the activity was about thinking of associations quickly. Today, take more time and think further outside of the box about the usesof such a space. For instance, one use for an airplane hangar might be to park cars, but that’s not so very different from parking airplanes. But what about using it for an indoor concert?  That is a great use, but far from being related to parking airplanes. Today the pace of exchanging is slower, to give yourselves time to be more reflective and creative in your thought. Like yesterday, you can go back and forth rather than having separate times for listening and sharing.

Connecting

Connecting

Which ideas of your partner’s did you find most creative? How were your ideas similar and how different?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, when you have a moment of free time, pick an object and see how many different unintended uses you can imagine.

Note: If your students really connect with this idea, share this airplane hangar that’s been turned into a home. The home is made of three parts: an airplane hangar, concrete-glass container, and antique farmhouse.

Day 4
Introduction

Community Circle Day

Introduction

Write “Flexibility of thought” on the board.

This is probably an easy one for whole class. Have a whole class group discussion or divide into smaller groups if that works more easily for your group. This can be done while standing.

When we do the whole group circles and we’re generating ideas, I want each participant to get the same cheering from the whole group as everyone else. This is about participating, not being the best. We’re going around the circle three times. The first time is to practice cheering for one another. Exactly the same for each person.

  • So the first time around, step forward and greet the group. Say “hello” or “howdy” or whatever you wish. There aren’t enough greetings that we can all have something different. Just call out whatever comes to mind.
  • The second time, step forward and say the most INflexibleresponse to the word I give as a prompt. Everybody cheer for everybody else.
  • Then the last time, I’ll give you a moment to reflect. Come up with the most flexible reply you have to the prompt. I’ll give you a moment to reflect, and clearly, lots of you will think of the same thing as others, but we’ll see. Maybe a few will have something really creative. We’ll give the same cheers for everybody, but at the end, we’ll take a moment to comment on the replies that seemed most flexible and creative.
prompt

Prompt

First time around the circle:Just greet us. Everybody cheer for everybody.

Second time around the circle: Give your most Uncreative and Inflexible reply to the word, “Cloud.”  Everybody cheer for everybody.

Third time around the circle: Come up with a response to the word “cloud” that is the most flexible, unusual or creative word or phrase that comes to mind. Let’s take a moment to reflect… [Remind everybody to cheer.]

Connecting

Connecting

Now just popcorn style: Anybody pop up and tell us one of the replies you found most interesting.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today when you have a moment, look at any object and see how many flexible ideas you can come up with in whatever time you have. Also see whether you can engage someone at home to do this with you.

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE. We recommend the Word Association one for this week.

Introduce the Blue Sky Moment time.

Connecting

Connecting

Let’s stand up and face into the circle. Are there a few of you who would like to talk about what you liked about this or whether you were comfortable or not comfortable? How was this?

challenge

Daily Challenge

In our busy world, especially with the distraction of social media, it is easy to be out of touch with how we’re feeling inside. When we can be in touch with what is going on inside, that is the beginning of being able to manage stress. Today, really try to tune into your feelings.

Week Two

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

What importance does curiosity have in our lives? What are some of the most life-saving inventions of our time, and what kind of curiosity was needed for someone to create this solution? What are some of the most life-enhancing inventions of our time? Could they have been developed without curiosity?

Connecting

Connecting

What is the lesson in this for us? Sometimes curiosity stems from a problem. What else creates curiosity?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Approach things with curiosity today. Think about the things that might have led someone to invent the things around us. What can you be curious about?

Day 2
Introduction

Introduction

Intro: So many things happen in our world because someone got curious. Sometimes curiosity leads to courage. Think about the first trip to the moon. Someone had to ask, “What if….” Here are a few of the challenges they faced according to Thrillest:

  • They were sitting on a bomb: the fuel load to get them out of our atmosphere was huge!
  • They didn’t exactly know how they were getting back.
  • They knew they might be pummeled by asteroids.
  • Radiation from the Van Allen belts, sun, and cosmic rays might kill them.
  • They would be 240,000 miles from home with spotty radio contact.
  • There was a threat of extra-terrestrial pathogens.
prompt

Prompt

Courage can be large but sometimes it’s small. How can kids your age be first curious and then courageous? Think about a challenge you may face and ask: “What if…” Here are a few examples:

  • Teens are pressured to look a certain way. What if we got comfortable in our own skin? What could happen?
  • Teens are pressured to act a certain way. What if we all got comfortable saying no to peer pressure?
  • Teens can often be judged negatively by adults in the community. What if we took some time to give back and serve the very people appear to have negative thoughts about us? What could happen if we all respected and appreciated each other more?
Connecting

Connecting

How can we inspire curiosity and courage in others?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Continue to ask, “What if…” throughout the rest of your day.

Day 3
Introduction

Introduction

Read the following one-minute story about the elephants:

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved ‘man-friend’. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence’s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for a year and half! But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.

SOMETHING IN THE UNIVERSE IS GREATER AND DEEPER THAN HUMAN INTELLIGENCE.

Sourcehttps://www.truthorfiction.com/lawrence-anthony/

Note: More about this story can be read here.

prompt

Prompt

Cut the shared time down to 90 seconds each with a one-minute connecting at the end.

What does it mean for us that there are intelligences that are, in some ways, greater than what we as humans have? How do you explain that two wild herds of elephants would know that the person who saved them had died? What does it mean that they would come to that home and stay for days?

Connecting

Connecting

What other species might have abilities that would surprise us to understand?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, think about the lessons we might learn from nature if we took more time to focus on it.

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle Day

Divide students into groups of 4-6.

Prompt

Yesterday we heard the story about the elephants that came to grieve at the home of the man who had saved them. The elephants clearly understood the importance of what Lawrence Anthony did to find them habitat and to save their lives. Today in your circles, share what you know about the ways animals on the earth are stressed and how they might need protection. There are lots of different ways this is happening, from loss of habitat to pollution and many other ways as well. This isn’t a time to correct one another or dispute someone’s perception. This is more of a time for a philosophical conversation about what’s happening on the planet.

Connecting

Connecting

In your circle, each person can share one thing they learned from someone else in the group today.

challenge

Daily Challenge

When  you leave school today, look up!  Put your phone in your pocket and notice the landscape. What kinds of animals might have been here before us? Where are they now?

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE.

Connecting

Connecting

See if a few students want to share how this quietness might be changing how they handle various stressors in their lives.

Let’s stand up and face into the circle. Are there a few of you who would like to talk about what you liked about this or whether you were comfortable or what we could do to make thiss more comfortable?  How was this?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Think about the things covered in today’s Blue Sky Moment and consider using these tools whenever you feel stress throughout your day. What seems like a very simple practice of breathing can really help calm you down!

Week Three

Day 1
Introduction

Introduction

Queue up today’s video on emotional intelligence and play until 2:34.

This week we’ll be focusing on emotional intelligence. Today we’ll just define what it is through a video.

prompt

Prompt

Shorten your sharing time to accomodate the time spent on the video.

Emotional intelligence is “the quality that enables us to confront with patience, insight, and imagination the many problems that we face in our effective relationship with ourselves and others.” How is being patient, insightful, and imaginative helpful in our everyday relationships?

Connecting

Connecting

What was similar about your observations?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, be mindful of practicing patience and imagination when dealing with other people.

tip

Prepare

Note: Thursday is a Community Circle and Friday is another Blue Sky Moment.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

What are some ways someone’s reaction might disguise their true feelings, whether intentionally or unintentionally? What might be at the root of these disguises? Some ideas might be hunger, fear, etc.

Connecting

Connecting

What are some ways we can remind ourselves to investigate our own reactions so they’re a more accurate portrayal of how we really feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, when you feel strongly about something, take a moment to think about that feeling and what might be at the root of your strong emotion. Sometimes our reactions are spot on and healthy. Other times we might find that something else is fueling our reaction.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Being emotionally intelligent means that we refuse to blindly trust our first impulses or the inherent wisdom of our feelings. What are some situations you can think of where someone did follow their impulse or initial feels and it got them in trouble? (Don’t use names, just talk about the situation.)

Connecting

Connecting

What are some ways things could go better for people if we learned to be skeptical about our initial impulses and feelings?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, try practicing a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to your initial reactions to people and situations.

Day 4
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

Feel free to divide your students into groups of 4-6 or do as a whole class circle.

What are some ways our school can grow our emotional intelligence? What are the possible outcomes of such education?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Take an idea or two from today’s conversation and implement them in your personal life. One way to change our school culture is to change ourselves!

Day 5
prompt

Blue Sky Moment

Prompt

Use one of the Blue Sky Moments options listed HERE.

challenge

Daily Challenge

Think about the things covered in today’s Blue Sky Moment and consider using these tools whenever you feel stress throughout your day. What seems like a very simple practice of breathing can really help calm you down!

Today, let’s make a commitment: “Today I will find at least three times when I can use breathing to calm myself down, increase my focus or take time to be more patient.”

Week Four

Day 1
prompt

Prompt

What is forgiveness?

Connecting

Connecting

What does the forgiver need to do? How does one know when he or she is forgiven?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Forgiveness is a part of every single day. Someone might cut you off in line, bump you in the hallway, not smile at you, or not reply when asked a question. Today, try to readily forgive others.

tip

Prepare

You’ll need post-it notes for Thursday and Friday will be a Community Circle.

Day 2
prompt

Prompt

How do we ask for forgiveness? How do we accept someone’s apology?

Connecting

Connecting

Were there similar ideas that you both appreciate when it comes to forgiveness? How does being forgiven make you feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, be open to someone else’s acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and be willing to own your own behavior that may be hurtful (whether intentionally or not) as well.

Day 3
prompt

Prompt

Which classroom and school rules and expectations are clear and which are not? Are school rules evenly applied to all students?

Connecting

Connecting

How does lack of clarity effect the ability to enforce a rule? How can we communicate rules more clearly?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Today, work on being clear in your communication and appreciate clarity in others.

Day 4
prompt

Prompt

You will need post-it notes for today’s activity.

List all the things that we could compliment people on that don’t rely on whether they’re beautiful, attractive, or have a certain brand of clothes.

Connecting

Connecting

How does complimenting someone on their character or actions make you feel? How do you think it makes them feel?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Encourage the people around you for who they and not just what they look like or what they wear.

Day 5
prompt

Community Circle

Prompt

What are your ideas for generating greater respect across the school population?

challenge

Daily Challenge

Choose one of the ideas we spoke about today and try fostering an attitude of respect towards those around you.