Speaker Series II
Just like last year, the speeches were incredibly powerful.
As in our previous Speaker Series, we sent students back to their classrooms for a follow up lesson and conversation. We made sure this lesson was to happen with the same class they were in the assembly with. The presentation and lesson were purposely planned for the end of the school day so that kids could just go home after the discussion. We thought it might be hard to concentrate on academics after such a deep and emotional topic.
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 the prompts on the top. Students were asked to respond, in writing, drawing, or poetry to the following prompts:
- How are you feeling after todays assembly?
- What from today's assembly might you connect to your own life?
- How are you feeling after the deaths of our fellow students?
Students then had time to reflect. As much time as they needed. And we let them know that WE WOULD NOT READ THEM.
One Word Share Out
Each student received a blue, pink and green sticky note. We assigned each prompt a color, and asked the kids to sum up in one or two words how they were feeling about each of their responses. Students were then invited up to the board and stick their notes under the prompts. When finished, the kids walked around and looked at what others had said. No names of course, all annonymous. Students got a chance to see how their peers were thinking and feeling. Teachers actually ended up collecting these post it notes AFTER the lesson and we turned them into word art for our second activity.
Small Group Discussions
After we had a chance to go through and look at everyone's words, we broke the students into small groups of three or four for small group discussions.
In an effort to try to create connections and encourage students to help their peers, we asked the following questions for group discussion:
- What things make you feel stressed/alone/bad or unhappy?
- What do you do to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling that way at home?
- What do you do to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling that way at school?
Students talked with each other honestly. They gave good suggestions to one another and showed genuine care for each other - even those they didn't know well. After about 10 minutes or so a few volunteers shared out what they discussed leaving time for the whole class to discuss more if they wanted.
We wanted to end the lesson with something that they could take with them. Chelsea High School , as well as the Chelsea community, have some amazing resources for kids who are struggling, or kids who want to help someone they know who is struggling. Sometimes it is hard to know where to go or how to help yourself or others - so we gave them a card with all the easy resources on it. It had ways to call, email, text and use a qr code to get help. They were printed on glossy paper like a business card so they could fit in a student's phone case or wallet. That way they would always have it on hand. We attached suckers to the cards and passed them out at the end of the lesson. The suckers were a sweet treat after a long, emotional afternoon.
Teachers also got posters of all of the resources at CHS so they could tape them on all of their classroom doors.