2016 SoundOut Summer Camp

The 2016 SoundOut Summer Camp is happening August 1-12 at Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington. Over the last five years, SoundOut has partnered with Seattle Public Schools to teach more than 100 students how to change the world! This year, we’re teaching students how to TAKE CONTROL of their education and how to MAKE SCHOOLS BETTER.

 

Seattle students at the SoundOut Summer Camp
Students at the 2015 SoundOut Summer Camp at Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington.

 

The SoundOut Summer Camp is for Cleveland students who want to improve their learning and their school. Everyday includes workshops, activities, games, videos and reading.

By participating (full attendance) in this program, students will receive 0.5 elective credit, and will be able to earn up to 20 service learning hours for participating in continuing activities throughout the school year.

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Silencing Student Voice

Barriers to Students
Barriers to Students

To assist you in identifying and challenging adultism in schools, I’m adapting this list of common phrases educators have been conditioned to use throughout schools. They try to silence students with these phrases, especially when students challenge them, pushback or otherwise disagree.

The phrases below are often used by educators against students. Students of color, working class and poor students, queer and LGBTQI students, obese students, disabled students, and other marginalized students frequently hear these things more than other students. Silencing student voice happens a lot of different ways.

Strategies to Silence Student Voice

These silencing strategies, and others that may have been missed, can be found in any order. Students’ experiences of adults trying to silence them often go like this:

  • Adults in schools assert authority over students
  • Adults in schools question student knowledge/judgment
  • Adults in schools delegitimize student responses
  • Adults in schools delegitimize students
  • Adults in schools enforce dominant point of view
  • Adults in schools shut down debate or conversation

Following are details of what each strategy to silence students sounds like.

How Adults Assert Their Authority Over Students

  • No, but…
  • You’re wrong.
  • You’ve been wrong before.
  • That’s not true.
  • Are you sure? I’m going to Google it.
  • Really? I don’t believe it.
  • That’s never happened to me / anyone I know.
  • I’ve never seen / heard of that.

How Educators Question Student Voice

  • You don’t know that for sure.
  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • That doesn’t count.
  • This is a completely different situation.
  • You’re making it about students when it’s not.

How Educators Dismiss Student Voice

  • You’re overreacting.
  • You’re blowing it out of proportion.
  • Why are you making such a big deal out of it?
  • Stop getting so emotional.
  • Don’t tell me you’re upset about this.
  • You’re getting angry /raising your voice / shouting again.
  • Not everything is about…(structural oppression goes here).
  • Stop trying to make it about…(structural oppression goes here).
  • You always say that.
  • I knew you’d do this.
  • Can’t we talk about something else?

How Educators Delegitimize Students

  • (Rude laughter)
  • (to someone else) She’s crazy. Don’t listen to her.
  • Why can’t you just relax?
  • Can’t you take a joke?
  • I’m just joking.
  • You’re so serious all the time.
  • You’re so angry all the time.
  • You have no sense of humor.

How Educators Enforce Dominance

  • You have to accept that…
  • You must agree that…
  • It’s obvious that…
  • You must be stupid to think that…
  • Everybody knows…
  • When I was your age…

How Educators Shut Down Conversations

  • This is a stupid / irrelevant / useless conversation.
  • Why are we still having this conversation?
  • It’s not important.
  • Not everything is about you.
  • You’re making it worse by talking about it.
  • Why don’t you just give it up already?
  • I’m done.
  • Are we done?
  • Are you happy now?
  • I’m gonna hang up.
  • I don’t debate on this topic.
  • I’m not having this conversation.
  • I said I was sorry! Isn’t that enough?

This post was adapted from here with permission of the original authors.

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How to Facilitate Student Voice

It can be hard to facilitate student voice. At SoundOut, we define student voice as any expression of any student, anywhere, at any time about anything related to learning, schools and education. Trying to facilitate definition on purpose can challenge the most experienced teacher, wizened community facilitator, or determined student leader.

ALL student voice can be supremely useful. That includes students who dress in ties and business clothes and present at school board meetings, as well as those who text answers to tests under desks and fight in the hallway. But when things go bad, and they can, facilitating student voice can be counterproductive and actually work against the very things it was intended to do.

Over the last 15 years, I have facilitated student voice in a many settings with a variety of students for literally dozens of reasons. I have also trained and taught thousands of people how to do the same. Following are some tips, concerns, and considerations I have compiled for people who want to become EXCELLENT student voice facilitators.

I share this out of love and respect for everyone who has ever sat through a poorly led student voice event and wanted to do it differently. If you are really committed to being an excellent facilitator of student voice, read on. If you’re not, well, good luck, and don’t give up.

Tip 1: Before You Start

Before you start down the road of facilitating student voice, youth should think about these questions:

  • Who were the best teachers, facilitators, or adults who worked with students you ever experienced? The worst? What made them that way?
  • What is your goal for being an excellent facilitator- productivity, interaction, fun? Do you think you can facilitate all those at once?
  • What assumptions do you have about facilitation?
  • Why do you really want to learn more about excellent facilitation?

After thinking about all this you are ready to begin learning more about being an excellent facilitator- but not before then! Take a little while and really consider those questions, and then read on…

Tip 2: Be a Facilitator- Not a Teacher, Speaker, or Preacher.

There’s a difference between a teacher, a speaker, a preacher, and a facilitator. A facilitator’s job has three parts:

  • Lead the gathering or group
  • Guide towards goals
  • Lead by example

A excellent facilitator always starts by setting the tone of the student voice group. A facilitator is not expected to know it all, nor are they expected to drive everything. Insecure leaders do this. Secure leaders follow the maxim that, “A good leader makes the people believe they did it themselves.” You have knowledge and experience that you can and should share; however, you do not have to be the expert. Allow students to teach you. Also, remember that the mood of the facilitator will set the tone for the entire workshop, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Strive to be positive, be human, and have fun in every student voice group, no matter what its about.

Six Tips for Excellent Facilitation

  1. Set aside your needs in favor of the needs of the student voice group.
  2. Establish a friendly atmosphere and open sharing of ideas.
  3. Encouragestudents to take risks. When in doubt, check with the student voice group. It’s not your responsibility to know everything.
  4. Be aware of student engagement: Observe what is said, who is speaking, and what is really being said.
  5. Respect is the critical ingredient in effective student voice groups.
  6. Successful student voice groups should be uncomfortable sometimes. Address conflict and do not try to avoid it. Create an atmosphere of trust so that disagreements can be brought into the open.

Tip 3: Create Guidelines and Goals

Many well-meaning facilitators come from cynical perspectives that disallow us from acknowledging the norms that make successful student voice groups work. We can overcome this by having students create ground rules or guidelines before you begin. Brainstorm potential rules and write them down – but avoid too many rules. There are three essential guidelines:

  • Stay on task. Every student voice group should have a clearly stated purpose and agenda. This allows us to stay focused, considerate, and action-oriented.
  • Avoid rabbit holes. Alice fell into a world away from reality – Your group doesn’t have to be that way. Stay aware of off-topic banter, read your audience, and consider other ways to share ideas before getting too far away from the point.
  • Look for diamonds by working through the coal. There are rough things to go through in some student voice groups. Instead of avoiding them commit- as a group- to getting in and going through them.

Every student voice group should have some specific guidelines that all students agree on. Some goals can include:

  • Accomplish the specific task at hand, and when we’re done say we’re done.
  • Build a sense of teamwork and purpose.
  • Show that everyone has different strengths and abilities to offer the group and that no one is better than anyone else.

Tip 4: Think about Framing and Sequencing

Framing. Facilitators introduce the purpose, or frame, the student voice group they’re leading. Framing happens when a facilitator sets a simple prompt that lets students know there is a purpose to the group.

Sequencing. An important consideration is the order in which you present student voice groups, or sequencing. If a group has never learned together, it might be important to follow the sequences laid out beforehand. If they spend time together a lot, following the formal sequence isn’t always necessary. If a group is more comfortable with each other, try bursting the bubble by digging right into deeper group times. It is important to try to put “heavy” activities after less intensive ones, to build a sense of rest and preparedness.

Tip 5: Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

One way make student voice group events matter is to reflect before, during, and after the reflection. You can see reflection as a circle: You start with an explanation what you are going to learn and frame its purpose and goals to the group. As the activity progresses, the facilitator taking a more hands-on or less guiding approach as needed. Finally, group reflection helps students see how they met the goals of the workshop, and helps them envision the broader implications. Then the group has came full-circle.

Five Types of Reflection Questions

  • Open-Ended Questions – Prevents yes and no answers. “What was the purpose of the activity?” “What did you learn about yourself, our team, our program, our organization, or our community?”
  • Feeling Questions – Requires students to reflect on how they feel about what they did. “How did it feel when you started to pull it together?”
  • Judgment Questions – Asks students to make decisions about things. “What was the best part?” “Was it a good idea?”
  • Guiding Questions – Steers the participants toward the purpose of the activity and keep the discussion focused. “What got you all going in the right direction?”
  • Closing Questions – Helps participants draw conclusions and end the discussion. “What did you learn?” “What would you do differently?”

Tip 6: Make Meaning With Students

At their best, student voice group events can serve as bridges between students and promote learning through community building. They can reinforce the need for communication, co-learning, and collective action.

At their worst, group events can actually be tools of oppression and alienation and serve to support vertical practices that isolate people from each other everyday. As Paulo Freire wrote, “A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.” In this sense, excellent facilitation requires that we all become humanists who engage students with each other, followers with leaders, and teachers with students.

Tip 7: Create Safe Space

It is vital to create, foster, and support safe spaces where students can learn together. In a society that is openly hostile towards critical perspectives, participants in any activity need support when they make their voices heard. Establishing a safe space is powerful, positive, and hopeful, and hope is a requirement for excellent facilitation.

Seven Ways to Create Safe Space

  1. Acknowledge that everyone has preconceived ideas about others– or prejudices– that can damage others and ourselves.
  2. Ask students, “Who should be in this group but is not?”
  3. Focus and limit our conversations until trust increases (sometimes it is better to agree not to talk about specific issue/problem right away.
  4. As the facilitator, seek true dialogue and ask real questions.
  5. Encourage students to examine their personal assumptions by checking in with others rather than hiding or defending them.
  6. Speak from personal experience by using I statements and do not generalize about others.
  7. Be open to a change of heart as well as a change in thinking.

Tip 8: Seek Consensus

Whenever a student voice group is discussing a possible solution or coming to a decision on any matter, consensus is a tool excellent facilitators turn to. Following is a popular consensus-building technique.

Fist-To-Five Decision-Making

Start by restating a decision the student voice group may make and ask everyone to show their level of support. Each person should responds by showing a fist or a number of fingers that corresponds to their opinion.

  • Fist is a no vote – a way to block consensus. It says, “I need to talk more on the proposal and require changes for it to pass.”
  • 1 Finger says, “I still need to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made.”
  • 2 Fingers says, “I am more comfortable with the proposal but would like to discuss some minor issues.”
  • 3 Fingers says, “I’m not in total agreement but feel comfortable to let this decision or a proposal pass without further discussion.”
  • 4 Fingers says, “I think it’s a good idea/decision and will work for it.”
  • 5 Fingers says, “It’s a great idea and I will be one of the leaders in implementing it.”

If anyone holds up fewer than three fingers, they should be given the opportunity to state their objections and the team should address their concerns. Continue the Fist-to-Five process until students achieve consensus, which is a minimum of three fingers or higher, or determine they must move on to the next issue.

Tip 9: Embrace the Journey

Learning is a process, not an outcome. Encourage students to view the student voice group process as a journey that has no particular destination. However, even experience cannot teach us what we do not seek to learn. John Dewey once wrote that we should seek, “Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the aim of living.” This is true of excellent facilitation.

Students should use student voice group action as a starting point for a lifelong journey that includes learning, reflection, examination, and re-envisioning democracy in our communities; facilitators help groups down that path, and encourage students to embrace the journey.

Tip 10: Embrace Challenges

Since excellent facilitation is a process, it is important to understand that there will be difficult times ahead. One of the keys to excellent facilitation is knowing that criticism will come – and that can be good. We cannot grow without criticism. In a society where criticism is often a one way street, we must be aware of the outcomes of our actions, embrace these challenges, and learn from them. Following are several strategies for fostering critical thinking with students.

Seven Ways to Grow Student Voice Groups

  1. Use think-pair-share. Have individual thinking time, discussion with a partner, and presentation back to the student voice group.
  2. Ask follow-ups. Why? Do you agree? Can you elaborate? Can you give an example?
  3. Withhold judgment. Respond to answers without evaluating them and ask random group members to respond to them.
  4. Summarize. Asking a student at random to summarize another’s point to encourage active listening.
  5. Think out loud. Have students unpack their thinking by describing how they arrived at an answer.
  6. Play devil’s advocate. Asking students to defend their reasoning against different points of view.
  7. Support students’ questions. Asking students to formulate their own questions and build off your questions.

Remember

These are the plainest steps I can write down right now for becoming an excellent facilitator. There is plenty of information about facilitation online, and some of it is good. This is meant for those who want to be Excellent. I hope you join us!

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Student Voice Feedback Tips and Suggestions

SoundOut workshop participants in São Paulo, Brasil.
SoundOut workshop participants in São Paulo, Brasil.

 

When students have opportunities to share feedback with teachers, school leaders and other adults in education, its important they learn by following a safe, established framework.  Safe and supportive environments are a key to Meaningful Student Involvement; student voice feedback is a way to help ensure those environments exist.

Introduction

SoundOut has developed a process and tips to help students and adults break through their traditional interactions and move towards Student/Adult Partnerships. Following is one framework that we have used in schools. This can also be used by adults to provide students with feedback, as well as among students and among adults. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Process

  1. Use the following model to provide practice giving and receiving feedback: I feel (feeling) when you (behavior) because (impact on you).
  • Instead of: “You suck teacher! Why did you suck so much yesterday? We never think you’re good!”
  • Try: “I felt irritated when you didn’t show up at class unprepared. Yesterday I was ready to work on our project, but we couldn’t because you had to postpone our activity for the day because you were late.”

 

Tip 1: Focus on behaviors and actions, not personality.

  • Instead of: “You’re a totally domineering loudmouth!”
  • Try: “I felt frustrated in yesterday’s class when you interrupted several students to make your own points because I didn’t get to hear what they had to say.”

 

Tip 2: Be specific and concrete, avoiding vagueness and generalizations.

  • Instead of: “You are always late for things.”
  • Try: “I was upset when you came late to the class because I had to do your work as well as my own.”

TIP: If you can’t come up with a concrete example, think again about the feedback you are trying to give. Is it accurate, or just your perception?

 

Tip 3: Time your feedback well.

  • Don’t give feedback so long after the actual incident that heshe has trouble even remembering.
  • Don’t give feedback so soon after the incident that the person isn’t really ready to hear it.
  • Don’t give feedback when the person isn’t ready to listen. For example, he/she is on the way out and doesn’t have time, is with a group of people, or is in a bad mood.
  • Do pick a good time and place so that you both can be focused and capable of listening.

 

Tip 4: Do no harm.

  • Don’t just go off on someone so that you feel better. Check your attitude and your motivations for giving feedback before you speak. Ask yourself why you want to give this person feedback.
  • Do sincerely try to give people information that is going to help them. Make sure that the behaviors you’re telling someone about are ones that they can reasonably expect to change.

 

Tip 5: Deal with one item of information at a time.

  • Don’t say, “I feel angry when you don’t take out the trash or do the dishes or pick up your things or vacuum the floor because this place is a mess.”
  • Do pick one thing to focus on for now.

 

Tip 6: Be clear and simple…

  • Don’t confuse the receiver with lots of big words or go into a long drawn-out speech
  • Do get straight to the point.

 

When you use these tips and suggestions on feedback in student voice activities, you can discover the depth and breadth of what students and adults do when they partner together to improve schools. Without good feedback, student voice can never become as powerful, meaningful or purpose-filled as it could and should be for every student, all of the time.

 

Additional Lesson Plans

 

SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

Related Content

 

Lesson Plan to Assess Readiness for Student/Adult Partnerships

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: This inquiry-based lesson plan for up to 40 participants shares fundamentals, engages participants in evaluating their class and school, and planning for Student-Adult Partnerships. Activities can be adapted for use with students and adults; however, it is primarily for adult school staff.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Consider broad implications of Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Examine factors affecting Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Develop practical applications for Student-Adult Partnerships

Time: See “Considerations” section; up to 125 minutes are needed.

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: See the following heading, “Considerations”; space use is variable.

Considerations: There are two sections to this training that you should be aware of:

Preparing for Student-Adult Partnerships means deepening your understanding of what you are trying to do, why you’re doing it, and what you expect out of it. It also means deepening your understanding of what it’s going to take to make a partnership really work. In fact, a group may decide that it isn’t ready to involve students. That’s okay. It is better to recognize that fact rather than investing a lot of time creating frustration.

Assessing Readiness is designed as a set of activities that may be conducted separately in a series of short sessions or all together in one long session. The time required for each activity is noted in a range—you can spend a little or a lot of time on each activity depending on the size and needs of the group. Most of the activities involve discussion. For ideas on alternate ways of structuring discussions, see structuring discussion in this section.

PROCEDURES

  1. [10 min] Before getting started in engaging students, there are some key questions to examine: Write the underlined words on a flip chart.
  • What is your vision for students in your school?
  • What is your motivation for involving students?
  • What expectations do you have for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • What roles will the students have?
  • What resources exist to ensure success for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  1. [20 min] The following is a visualization that should be read in a comfortable, relaxed pace, in a quiet and calming tome. Give people time to bring up the images and really experience them. Modify this script as needed. Ask the group to sit down and get comfortable. Explain that you’re going to lead them through a visualization that lets them imagine their ideal for Student-Adult Partnerships. Ask them to close their eyes. Then begin…
  • “Imagine that it’s three years from now and you’ve got the perfect situation for Student-Adult Partnerships. Students and adults are working together. What does it look like? What are people doing? What roles do the students play? The adults? On which issues are they focused?”
  • “Now take a closer look. How does it feel? How are people interacting? What do you hear people saying? How do they share power?
  • “Now step back a bit. How does your program look or feel different? How is it benefiting the school? The students? The adults? What is ‘ideal’ about it?
  • Ask participants to draw a picture of their vision, either individually or as a small group. Then have them share in small groups or the whole group, depending on number of participants.
  1. [40 min] The following is a dialogue-oriented activity with separate questions for students and adults. The activity may be conducted as small group discussions by reading through the questions and giving individuals the chance to write down some thoughts. Then break up into small groups to discuss the following questions.
  • Do you think it will enhance your work?
  • What is it about involving students that interests you?
  • Did someone give you a similar chance when you were a student?
  • Do certain funders require it?
  • Have students demanded it?
  • Was it a request from the board?
  • Have students demanded more involvement?
  • Are you getting pressure from others? Whom?

Have the small groups report back to the large group. This is particularly critical if in a mixed group of students and adults.

  1. [10 min] These following steps are a class or school analysis that is primarily for adults, and may be used with students. Begin the activity by instructing participants to write the mission or purpose of their class or school at the top of a page. Have them draw a “map” (an “organizational flow chart”) of the class or school beneath the mission statement. The map should include individual people, departments, programs, and people affected by the programs, with lines between any connected people or projects.
  2. [5 min] Have each participant highlight where students fit into the chart.
  • What roles do they already play?
  • How do they fit within the overall mission and activities of the class or school?
  • Are they volunteers? Recipients of services? Interns? Committee members? Participants in events?
  1. [10 min] As a group imagine the broadest the possibilities for creating or expanding Student-Adult Partnerships.
  • How can students contribute to the work of the class or school in general?
  • How could Student-Adult Partnerships be a more effective or efficient way learn, broadly-speaking?
  1. [10 min] Now, based on the class’s or school’s actual mission and history, have the group discuss the possibilities for creating or expanding Student-Adult Partnerships.
  • How could Student-Adult Partnerships be a more effective or efficient way to meet an accepted goal of the class or school?
  • What are the potential benefits to the class or school?
  • How can students specifically contribute to the work of the class or school?
  1. [15 min] The final activity is an assessment primarily for adults and asks participants to take a look at the resources required to make Student-Adult Partnerships work. Based on their expectations, organizational maps, and lists of possible student roles, use the following questions to guide discussion:
  • What kind of support structure do you have for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • Is someone willing and available to work with the students — to recruit, orient, train and support?
  • How willing and available are other staff and/or the board to attend training?
  • What kind of space in your office can students use?
  • Are funds available for the costs that will be incurred?
  • How will you deal with issues of accessibility: Location, transportation, safety, incidental expenses?

[5 min] Close by asking for new insights people have gained or how ideas about Student-Adult Partnerships might have changed.


SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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Lesson Plan on Giving Feedback

Students at the 2015 SoundOut Student Voice Summer Camp at Cleveland High School in Seattle.
Students at the 2015 SoundOut Student Voice Summer Camp.

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: Skill-building, 8-25 students and adults.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Foster effective communication between students and adults

Time: 60 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: Enough for the group to spread out and work in pairs

Considerations: Communication is one of the biggest barriers to students and adults working together. Everyone knows how to talk, but surprisingly few people know how to communicate. It is a skill (so you don’t automatically know how to do it) and takes some practice. However, the skills developed for giving and receiving feedback are definitely Western European in origin. There are other ways to communicate and other skills that go with them.


PROCEDURES

  1. Introduce the term “feedback”: Feedback is a means of letting someone know how their behavior affects you—positively or negatively.
  2. Share the model called “feedback Model and Rules” following this lesson. You may want to use this page as an overhead.
  3. Demonstrate, using an group volunteer as a partner (see instructions for participant practice for further details)
  4. Explain how participants will practice feedback. Tell them to think of a situation in which they wanted to tell someone else about something they did that was hurtful, annoying or otherwise difficult. Tell participants that they will work in threes. One person will practice giving feedback, one will listen and one will observe. Share the following roles with students:
  • The feedback giver starts by telling the listener what the situation is, and about the role the listener will play.
  • The observer simply notes if the person practicing feedback is following the “rules” of feedback.
  • The listener listens and then gives the response which he or she sees fit.
  • The giver makes another statement, again using the model. Then participants stop.
  • The observer shares observations and the recipient shares how it felt to get feedback.If you only have a few people or don’t have much time, you can have the listener double as the observer and do the exercise in pairs.
  1. One by one, participants will practice giving feedback. Allow for about five to seven minutes for each round, reminding people to switch so they will have enough time to rotate the roles.
  2. Close by reflecting on the following questions:
  • What did it feel like to give the feedback statements?
  • How did you feel about the response of the recipient?
  • Observers: what were some of the difficulties you noticed people having?
  • What was it like to hear feedback?
  • During what would this technique be useful? Why?
  • During what situations wouldn’t it be useful? Why?

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

If time allows, have people practice feedback again, but this time positive feedback. Tell each participant to identify a situation in which he or she wanted to tell someone about something the person did that he or she really appreciated.

Let people know that feedback often feels awkward and artificial at first, but that it gets easier and more comfortable with practice.


SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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Lesson Plan for Introducing Student Voice

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: This lesson plan is for up to 40 adult-only participants includes a self-reflection activity, learning fundamentals of Student-Adult Partnerships and critical thinking about Student Voice.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Examine personal experience for relevant lessons affecting Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Understand the broad concept and implementation of Student-Adult Partnerships

Time: 120 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: Enough room for the group to split up into small groups. It is necessary to move chairs in order to conduct the icebreaker.

Considerations: During visualizations, make sure you keep your own opinions and/or editorial comments to yourself. Participants should have the opportunity to construct their own visions without your personal input. You’ll want to throw in a break at some point during the lesson plan. The case study activity near the end is optional.


PROCEDURES

  1. [5 min] Introduce yourself, go over the agenda, and review the goals.
  2. [10 min] Choose an icebreaker, making sure that the game ends with everyone in small groups of 5-8.
  3. [30 min] Begin the reflection by reading the following in a comfortable, relaxed pace. Your tone should be quiet and calming. Give people time to bring up the images in their heads and really remember them. You can add to or subtract from this script as needed.
  • Begin by asking each group to sit down and get comfortable. Explain that you will lead them through a reflection activity that sends them back in time to when they were teenagers. Ask them to close their eyes. Then ask them to imagine that it’s [use today’s date] during their X grade year in school—If the group consists of people who work primarily with one age group (e.g., fourth graders) use that school year. Otherwise chose a year in school for them. A year in middle or high school works best. Start by saying…
  • “Think about getting up in the morning. What time is it? Does someone wake you up? Who? Do you get up easily or is it a pain? What is your morning routine? Do you take a shower, bath, or do your hair? What are you wearing? Are you ready in a few minutes? An hour? Who else is around in the morning? Do you have to help anyone else get ready?
  • “Now you leave for school. How do you get there? Bus, drive, get a ride, walk, bike? Do you go with others? What does the building look like? How do you feel about the place? What do you do when you first get inside? Do you go to your locker? Hang out with friends? Who are your friends? How do you feel about them?
  • “What is your first class of the day? Who teaches it? Do you like the subject? Do you like the teacher? What are your favorite classes? What classes do you dislike? Why? What about lunch? Where do you eat? Do you have any meetings?
  • “Now it is the end of the school day. Do you play a sport, have an activity, have a job, do your homework, hang out with friends? What adults do you encounter: coaches, advisors, administrators, or bosses? When do you get home? Do you eat dinner with your family? Do you do homework, or pretend to do homework? Do you watch TV? Talk on the phone? What time do you go to bed? How do you feel at the end of the day?”
  1. [15 min] After a pause, ask participants to return to the present and open their eyes. Tell them you understand that the exercise may have reminded you of some painful or personal memories, and perhaps of some humorous ones, too. Reassure them that no one will be forced to share, but that you’re going to ask each small group to take a moment to share general reactions and them to create two lists.
  • What was good about being young?
  • What was not good about being young?
  1. [10 min] Ask each group to report back to the large group, and share some of their reflections.
  2. [50 min] Tell the group that through a variety of small and large group conversations you are going to examine their current involvement throughout their school. You can ask each individual to think about the school groups, clubs, committees, boards, religious groups, friends, family, and volunteer work they do. Then ask them to imagine being a student doing that work.
  • You might next ask participants to remember back to the visualization and what it was like to be a teenager. Ask “How would it affect your current school involvement if you had no desk, no way to take phone calls for most of the day, probably limited access to a computer and transportation. How do you remember interacting with adults? How did they treat you?
  1. [15 min] In the following conversation participants discuss barriers to Student-Adult Partnerships. Barriers are limitations, obstacles, or challenges that students and adults face. Have each group to brainstorm answers to the following questions and record their answers on flip chart paper.
  • What do adults do that gets in the way and makes it difficult for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • What do students do that gets in the way and makes it difficult for Student-Adult Partnerships?
  • What other barriers to Student-Adult Partnerships exist?
  1. [10 min] Have each small group report back to the whole group, and pick the top barriers.
  2. [25 min] Assign each group one of the top barriers. Ask them to develop strategies for preventing and/or overcoming the barrier, and report back to whole group.
  3. [10 min] Briefly discuss the Principles of Student-Adult Partnerships handout from the end of this lesson plan.
  1. [10 min] Have each participant take a moment to write two things they can do personally in the next two weeks to promote Student-Adult Partnerships. Then have them write two things they can do in their class or school in the next two months to put Student-Adult Partnerships to work. Have people refer back to the lists of strategies generated if they get stuck.
  2. [5 min] Evaluate and close.

Optional Activity

[20 min] If time allows, take an example from the group of a project in progress or up-coming situation in which students and adults are or will be working together. Have that group member give the background (people involved, what is going on/will happen, current or anticipated barriers, etc.) and have the rest of the group try and come up with solutions for the person’s problem.


SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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Lesson Plan to Introduce to Student/Adult Partnerships

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: This is a hands-on, interactive session featuring reflection and critical thinking skill development. It is designed for mixed groups of students and adults, with no more than 40 participants.

Goal: When this session is complete participants should be able to…

  • Define Student-Adult Partnerships in a variety of settings throughout schools
  • Identify currently existing Student-Adult Partnerships in the school

Time: 180 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: Enough room for the group to split up into small groups. It will be necessary to move chairs in order to conduct the icebreaker.

Considerations: Throw in a break at some point during the lesson. The case study activity near the end is optional, and can be omitted to allow more time for discussion in the small or large groups.

PROCEDURES

  1. [3 min] Introduce yourself, review the agenda, and go over the goals.
  2. [10 min] Choose an ice breaker, and make sure the game ends with everyone in small groups of all students or all adults. See http://www.freechild.org/gamesguide.htm
  3. [20 min] Each same-age small group should answer the following questions and records their answers on flip chart paper.
  • What does the other age group do that really bothers you and makes it difficult for you to work together?
  • What do you do that gets in the way and makes it difficult for students and adults to work together?
  • What do you really like or value about working with students/adults?
  1. [10 min] Have each small group report back to the whole group. Pick top barriers from all the groups by choosing the ones that are most common or that, if solved would make things a whole heck of a lot easier.
  2. [20 min] Break into small, mixed-age groups. Assign each group one of the top barriers, and have them develop strategies for preventing and/or overcoming the barrier.
  3. [20 min] Have each group report back to whole group.
  4. [10 min] Review the Principles of Student-Adult Partnerships handout from the end of this lesson plan.
  5. [10 min] Have each participant take a moment to write a reflection on two things they can do personally in the next two weeks. After that, they should brainstorm two things they can do in their class or throughout their school in the next two months to make Student-Adult Partnerships work. Have people refer back to the lists of strategies generated if they get stuck. Ask for individuals to share so others can get additional ideas by listening.
  6. [5 min] Evaluate and close the session.

Optional Activity [20 min] If time allows, take an example from the group of a project in progress or up-coming situation in which students and adults are or will be working together. Have that group member give the background (people involved, what is going on/will happen, current or anticipated barriers, etc.) and have the rest of the group try to come up with solutions for the person’s problem.


SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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Lesson Plan on Defeating Stereotypes in Schools

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: This lesson plan is a communication-oriented session, engaging students and adults through role playing, intergenerational dialogue, critical thinking, and cooperative problem-solving. A mixed group of students and adults is required, with no fewer than 15 and no more than 100 participants total.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Identify constructive and restrictive behaviors between students and adults
  • Examine stereotypes of students and adults at work in current activities
  • State how students and adults prefer to be treated and interact with each other

Time: 60-120 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space Required: Large room with enough open space in the front for people to act out short scenarios.

Considerations: Role-plays can be a lot of fun and can provide the chance for people to act out situations in a non-threatening manner. These role-plays are designed to start the conversation about the role of respect in building Student-Adult Partnerships. People will explore how different behaviors are interpreted and how they can best convey respect. The purpose of these scenarios is to have the groups act as they think the characters would act, thus creating stereotypes of current activities.

You will need to set up these scenarios ahead of time as best you can, getting volunteers and assigning them their roles. Many of the roles require that different people in the same scenario be given instruction separately. Most of the volunteers will need a few minutes to plan out there scenarios.

If you’ve got the right numbers, you may be able to have everyone participate in one scenario and give the whole group a few minutes to get prepared. You may choose as many scenarios to do as you feel appropriate and as time allows. You may create new scenarios and/or want to adjust the details of the scenarios to make them more relevant to your group. Given the open-ended nature of the scenarios you’ll need to cut them off at a certain point otherwise they’ll go on and on. The scenarios don’t need to reach a resolution. You simply want then to raise issues and create an illustration.  

PROCEDURES

  1. [5 min per small group] Have participants break into small groups and assign each group one of scenarios following these procedures. You should take each small group aside and share their directions as detailed below. The group should have just a few moments to talk about their scenario, and then just a few minutes to act it out to the large group.
  2. [10 min per small group] After each scenario, refer to specific examples of behaviors you observed acted out and ask the following questions. Make a list of issues on flip chart paper of each major issue.
  • What just happened?
  • Why do you think that happened?
  • For the participants in the scenario: How was what happened different than what you expected? Why?
  • How did you feel about your role?
  • What issues/problems surfaced?
  1. [5 min] Staying in the same groups, assign each group one of the scenarios and give them the list of issues for that scenario. Their task is to re-create that scenario, but this time, considering the issues, make it work as effectively as possible.
  2. [10 min per small group] Re-play the new and improved scenarios. After each one, hold a brief discussion, asking:
  • What was different?
  • How well did it work?
  • For the participants, how did you feel this time?
  • Is there anything you’d still change?
  1. [15 min] After all the scenarios have been re-played, hold a group discussion:
  • Were there any reactions people had in any of the scenarios that surprised you? Why?
  • How did people show respect to each other?
  • What kinds of things do students and adults do or say that gets misinterpreted? Why?
  • How can such misunderstandings be prevented?

The Meeting Scenario

Facilitator Directions: Privately give “Student” instructions to one actor, and “Adult” instructions to several actors playing adults. Don’t share each group’s instructions!

Students: You have been asked by the principal of your school to attend a meeting about after-school programs because you’re involved with the community service club at school and help run an after-school tutoring program at the nearby middle school. You get out of school at 2:30, which is when the meeting starts and it will take you half and hour to get there by bus. You haven’t been given any information on the project so you’re not sure what it’s all about. You figure you can just go and listen at this first meeting and that there will be students from other high schools, too.

Adults: You are members of a coalition of community organizations and businesses which is trying to improve after-school programs for elementary and middle school students. You are having an important meeting to decide the type of activities which will be offered, you were told by the city (which is going to fund the programs) that you must have a student actively involved in your organization. Some people are against including students, believing that they will prevent getting work done. Some of you, however, are looking forward to hearing what students really what from after-school programs. The meeting started at 2:30, and it is 3:00 now. The student representative is not yet present. You character should broadly be well-meaning but un-helpful, polite but somewhat condescending. Don’t do introductions. Don’t explain what’s going on. Ask the student actor vague questions about what students want.


The Recruiting Scenario 

Facilitator Directions: Give the following directions to 1 actor playing an adult and a group of several students at the same time.

Students: It’s lunchtime. You’re hanging outside with friends, eating.

Adult: You’re recruiting people for an exciting new after-school community service program where people gain great job skills and have a lot of fun. Go talk with the group of students.


The Presentation Scenario

Facilitator Directions: Give the following directions privately to 1 student presenter and a mixed group of students and adults as the audience.

Audience: It’s Friday afternoon. You have just attended an assembly. It’s a three-day weekend coming up. A guest speaker is coming soon.

Student Presenter: You are a guest speaker in the class. You’ve spent hours putting this presentation together on how to get money for college and how to find a job after school. You really want to help. You have just walked into the classroom.


The Home Scenario

Facilitator Directions: Give the following directions at the same time to 2 adult playing parents and 2-4 students playing their teenage children. It’s okay to reverse the roles and have adults play the teenagers and students play the adults.

Students: It’s the big game of the season this Friday. Everybody is going to be there. You want to go and then go to a party afterwards. You want the car but know grandma and grandpa’s 50th anniversary is coming up.

Adults: Its grandma and grandpa’s 50th anniversary this Friday and you’ve planned a big surprise party for them. You need the kids there to help and you know grandma and grandpa would be pretty upset if they weren’t there.


The Restaurant Scenario

Facilitator Directions: Give the following directions separately to 1-2 actors playing adults with a group of several students, and 1 other actor playing an adult waitperson.

Group: You are having a meeting at a local restaurant about and up-coming community service event you’re planning. Because you are meeting, you haven’t really had any time to look at the menu.

Waitperson: Students come into your restaurant all the time and they’re usually very loud, rude and don’t leave you a tip. You don’t really like or have much patience for them. You really wish they’d stop coming. Adults, of course, are a different matter entirely.


Other Possible Scenarios

  • A student being interviewed for a job
  • A student having a conference about grades with a teacher
  • A student and an adult co-chairing a meeting

VARIATIONS

Try having students and adults reverse roles—this highlights their perceptions of how the other group acts. Also, rather than using pre-determined scenarios, have the group brainstorm possible students-adult scenarios, break up in to small groups, and then each small group creates a scenario to act out.


SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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Lesson Plan on Jargon in Schools

FACILITATOR NOTES

Introduction: Lesson plan for a variable number of students and adults

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Develop awareness of how language is used
  • Define unknown terms
  • Build community in school and have fun

Time: 60 minutes

Materials: A small flag for each person (people can make their own)

Space: None

Considerations: Language defines a group of people. You know you are in a group when you can “talk the talk”. In meetings, where a lot of jargons gets used, it’s important to provide a mechanism to break down the walls of exclusion that language can create. In introducing this technique, make sure you communicate fun. If people can treat it as a game, they won’t feel attacked if and when a flag is raised on them. This is also known as “Educationese 102.”


PROCEDURES

  1. Hand out flags to everyone. Ask them to raise the flag every time someone uses a word they don’t understand. When a flag goes up, the person raising it says the word, and the person who said the word has to give a definition.
  2. If you would like, turn it into a competition: Whom can have the fewest flags raised? The point is to have fun, while making sure people are communicating clearly.

SoundOut Skill Building Lesson Plans
SoundOut Facilitates Workshops... Contact us to learn more!

These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.


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