This year's speeches seemed to resonate with the kids on a deeper level. At the end of the assembly, we ended with a slide that read "I wish you knew.... How would YOU finish this statement?"
Then we gave them a day. Since we were trying to involve a greater community here, we wanted them to go home and talk to their families and friends. We wanted them to discuss and brainstorm as much as possible - and talk about it openly at home. And guess what? They DID. We got so many emails from parents telling us how much they appreciated how much this opened up their kids to talking to them.
We held the lesson the following day. We had an extended fourth hour, leaving around 20 minutes for the lesson.We gave teachers 3 different versions of the lesson, so they could pick whichever matched their level of comfort on the topic.