One of the hardest things to do is to convince your activity group that they have done a good job of running many events. You seem to need a laundry list of activities in the middle of their year to convince them that they have made an impact on the school. Visitors to the school may see posters for events that are happening right now, but they won’t know about the great theme day you ran last month.
At KCI, Pierre Sandor picked a well-travelled hallway and hung 62 feet of clothesline with support hooks every six feet, high up along the ceiling. Every time his leadership group completes an event, the organizers of that event use a clothespin to hang a poster they used, a small prop, or a picture to recall the event and its date. By the year’s end, the line is crowded with weird and wacky stuff that leads to pride of accomplishment in the leaders. At a glance, visitors see evidence of a vibrant, fun school full of activity. Students can’t complain that “nothing every happens here” because the year’s history is right in front of them.
As they walk by the activity clothesline, students who always participate fall into “remember when” stories. Students who never participate walk past a daily reminder that they are missing out on something. Future events can be hung at a distance down the line with a simple “coming soon” message or the specific date such as a prom held in June.
For our staff appreciation activity we decided to take the party to the staff. Several students put together small loot bags with treats and goodies to be presented to each staff member. They included pencils, care bears with “you care about students” messages, etc. Then, each student was to find out three neat things about the staff member who they were an ambassador to. They found this information by talking to other staff or students. (You have to teach them how to be tricky and find out this information without giving away the activity.)
During class time the whole ambassador group put on party hats, carried a CD player with party music, blew party horns and went through the hallways dropping in on different staff members. We tried to meet them in their class or in an area like the office where other people could watch the “party”. The student who collected the three neat things would read these out to the group and present the staff member with his or her treats. This would be followed with lots of cheering and then we would move on.
I couldn’t believe how popular this became. Staff wanted to know when it would be their turn. It created a real buzz in the hallways and staff room. Many staff later commented to me how much fun it was and what a difference it made. Maybe it could be a hit in your school too!
From: Brent Dickson
Sherwood Community School,
Calgary Board of Education
Our town’s mural project was adapted from the information at www.muralmosaic.com
We enlisted the help of a local artist and former student along with a grade 12 student looking for a special project credit. My practical arts students helped with much of the labor and the art teachers used the project for several students individual portfolio components. We had 96 one foot squares divided between elementary students, high school students and local community members. Art instruction was provided to the students upon request. The mural is 12’x 8’ and is attached to the side of a local business. I can provide more details if anyone is interested (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This is a great opportunity for students to create something lasting for your community or school.
From: Don Wheler
For the duration of one week, students are asked and encouraged to perform Random Acts of Senseless Kindness. This can range from helping a friend, or volunteering to help a teacher.
During the week, Warm Fuzzies are sold (puff balls with feet, googlie eyes) and these are purchased and delivered to homerooms just like candy grams. Cinnamon hearts are put on muffins sold in the cafeteria. A notice board is put up where students announce random acts of kindness that have happened to them.
The major activity is Hug Day. Everyone in the school (staff included) is given a necklace of yarn with a pompom on the end. When you hug somebody, you tie a string from your pompom on his or her necklace, and they tie one to your necklace. At the end of the day, your necklace is full of multi-coloured strings — proof of all the hugs you’ve shared.
Keep the Kindness growing!
From: Southwood Student Council
Southwood Secondary School Cambridge, Ontario
The day before prom a group of students dressed up in our prom attire and went to an adult day-care to bring happiness to the elderly and mentally disabled. We brought our prom posters and balloons and we danced with the ones that could dance. They told us stories of their proms and not only did it make us feel good to do something for the community, but it was very interesting to hear how proms have changed over the years. It was a great success and we got a lot of media coverage.
Guthrie School worked with the Canadian military on Operation Santa Claus. This is an effort to ensure that every military member serving overseas at Christmas receives a treat from back home. Letters were written from students in Kindergarten through Grade 9. The students enjoyed making each letter unique and special. Bill Edgecombe from Advantage School Services assisted and provided Kapow! Pops to accompany the letters. It was a great way to make the school and community a better place.