"WHAT'S YOUR WHY?"
The Class Discussion
The speeches were incredibly powerful. I can't even explain to you the mood in the room. I don't think the students really knew what to expect, but there was not a single phone out - not a single kid talking to their friends. They were all captivated by their teachers. These teachers opened up their hearts and poured their souls out to hundreds of teenagers. I know how nervous they all were, and how hard they had worked on their speeches. They were touching, poignent, and most importantly they were honest.
Since the topics that were discussed were sometimes heavy, we wanted to let kids have the time to digest, reflect, and discuss in their classes. We made sure this lesson was to happen with the same class they were in the assembly with.
Essentially we wanted students to have a moment to reflect first. As soon as students got back in their classrooms, teachers passed out a blank sheet of paper with a prompt on the top. Students were asked to respond, in writing, to the following prompt:
What resonated with you while listening to these presentations and what from these presentations can you relate to your own life?
Students then had time to write. As much time as they needed. And we let them know that WE WOULD NOT READ THEM. Teachers did, however, collect them and keep in a file for students to refer to later.
When everyone was done writing... some wrote a few sentences and some filled up the front and back of the page....
Teachers and WYM committee members helped lead class discussions. Some of the discussions lasted for a few minutes, and some took all hour. It was up to the teacher's discretion.
Speaker Series #2
We gave the kids time to reflect on and discuss the speaker series #1. They were talking about it with teachers, friends, and family. We waited a few weeks between assemblies, but in hindsight about a week in between would perfect. Our schedule for the Speaker Series #2 followed the same format, but instead of the principal giving a speech, but we added a short video at the end explaining our intentions for the Speaker Series as well as what we hope they took from it. We also encouraged them to them to start thinking about their own personal "why."
Students were given another copy of the same sheet with the same prompt. They were able to digest, reflect and discuss in the same manner. Sheets were collected and held again.
We created this speaker series around the concept of "why"? Why are you here? What's your purpose? We decided to tie that in to the prayer flag project. This is totally optional! We wanted to have a public art project to go along with our speaker series but you don't have to do both. It does beautifully tie in to the idea of a prayer flag "mantra" and the flags are awesome but it was a lot of work to do both. That's what we are talking about in this video and what the third lesson plan is focused around!
We wanted to make everything as easy for our teachers as possible. So we made up files with all the needed materials for each classroom. We made enough copies for everyone in the class, including the teacher and a few extras. In each teacher file we included:
-Speaker Series #1 and #2 Lesson Plan
-Speaker Series #1 Reflection Sheets
-Speaker Series #2 Reflection Sheets
-Speaker Series #3 Lesson Plan (In class activity)
-"What's Your Why" sheets
LESSON PLANS HERE
TM by the #WhyYouMatter Campaign