Tag Archives: Brent Dickson

Whiteboard Declarations of Optimism

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Turns out my Student Leaders are very optimistic about the world and they love to draw on the white board.  Here is how it worked.

First I showed the Lost Generation clip from YouTube.  It starts off seeming like a very negative video but changes half way through to be very positive.  The link is above.  I then invited the class to write down as many things as they could that are great about the world right now or they see as positive for the future.

Then they were encouraged to come up to the whiteboard and write everything positive down they thought was important.  When that was done they could come up and show what they liked that other people wrote by circling it or putting stars beside etc.  What we got as you can see from the picture above was a very messy, awesome declaration of optimism by my class.  They kept talking about all the things they had written down well into the rest of the class.

Give it a try! Now I am going to go outside and positively enjoy the 30C weather we rarely get in Calgary this time of year!

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Thumbs Up Thursdays

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This is my friend Braeden.  He is a Leadership superstar at Centennial.  He is also one of the most positive people I know.  He was wearing this shirt the other day and I had to take a picture.  I love the idea of a Thumbs Up Thursday.  Say yes to all the good things in our lives and opportunities that may come our way.  We are starting to promote Thursdays as all about the thumbs up.  Be positive, say yes to opportunities, and spread the enthusiasm.

May your Thursdays always be Thumbs Up!!

Study Buddytastic! Sr. Leadership students act as buddies for Elementary students

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Centennial High School has partnered with Samuel Shaw Middle School, one of our feeder schools, to run a Study Buddy program.  Our Gr. 11 and 12 Leadership students meet once a week with Gr. 5 or 6 Students at S Shaw.  This is the fifth year the program has been running.

Last month when we arrived at Shaw we saw a number of post it notes up where the Gr. 6s were sharing things they love about their school. They talked about favorite classes, lunch, recess, and other cool activities at school.  Two of the notes talked about our Study Buddy program.  I was so impressed that with all the things they could highlight they chose their Study Buddy.  The first note says “Being with my Buddy and playing 2 truths and a lie”.  The second says “Being with my Buddy and getting to know her”.

How does our program work?  We go once a week with our class (Wednesdays) for 45 minutes.  My students come with a lesson plan or activities for the day.  We consult with their teachers before as to what to work on.  In the past we have done science, social studies, reading, and math.  We have also worked on social skills or English as a second language.  This term we are working with the theme of positivity and appreciation as requested by the Gr. 6 teachers.   Last week they got in groups of 4 and put positive post it notes on each other’s backs supporting that week’s theme of validation.  It is critical to not give their teachers more work with another program.  They give us general ideas and then we do the planning and work.

Program Rewards –  When we arrive at the school everyone recognizes our students in their Leadership T-Shirts.  Former Study Buddies high five me in the hallway.  There is an excitement from the Gr. 6s to meet with their Buddy.  My Leadership students feel like they are doing something real and important.  They come with a plan and work hard to make a difference with their buddy.

It is a highlight of every week for me to be a part of this program.  Consider starting a Study Buddy program with one of your neighborhood schools.

Brent Dickson

Leadership Kid or a kid taking Leadership class?

At our retreat this year we asked our students the question – “Are you a Leadership Kid or a kid taking Leadership?”

A Leadership Kid shows up for the lunch time activity.  A kid taking leadership class asks if they have to be there because that is their free time.  A Leadership Kid shows up after school to decorate while a kid taking leadershipclass checks first to see if they get marks for coming.  A Leadership Kid figures out a way to attend an assembly or retreat while a kid taking leadership doesn’t come because they would have to then write a test after school cutting into their time.  A Leadership Kid loves being there, works hard, and usually gets a great grade too.  A kid taking Leadership may get a great grade, or they may not.  But their experience is not near as rich as the Leadership Kid’s.

We encourage our students to be Leadership Kids, not just a kid taking Leadership.

I have attached a sheet that we used at our last retreat.  They brainstormed the differences between a Leadership Kid and a kid taking Leadership.  Then we had them pick three goals for themselves during the semester.  Their goals are posted in the room and at the halfway point and end of term they get to see how they are doing.  Hope this is a help to you.

Be A Leadership Kid 2.0

Retreat To Move Forward?!

Garbage Bag Fashion Show Centennial H.S. Calgary has three Student Leadership classes each semester.  These are a combination of our Gr. 10 or Sr. classes (gr. 11s and 12s).  At the beginning of each semester we go away for a day with those classes to get to know each other better, receive leadership training, and set the direction for the semester.  Our experience at Centennial has shown that our students progress so much that day.  It used to take us 2-3 weeks of classes to achieve the same results.

What a typical Centennial Leadership Retreat looks like:

1. Mixers and Energizers – get them up and moving, meeting new people, and feeling excited about the day – you can find lots of great resources for these at the Canadian Student Leadership Association website – https://studentleadership.ca/

2. Spirit Groups – divide them as evenly as you can between boys and girls, grades, and mixing the classes – have them introduce themselves to each other and do some mixer activities with each other – then have them introduce themselves to the whole group

3. Leadership Lesson – have them doing something active which teaches a Leadership lesson that will serve you well that semester.

4. Lunch – We are within walking distance of several fast food restaurants.  We give them a longer lunch than they get during a regular school day.  It is important for them to spend time together.  We make sure that everyone is included and no one is left behind.

5. Afternoon energizers – you need to get them engaged after lunch.  This year we started with a modified rock, paper, scissors activity followed by the annual Garbage Bag Fashion Show.  We provide each spirit group with a number of garbage bags.  They dress up their model and have them strut the catwalk.  One year we didn’t do this and were told never to make that mistake again.

6. The Big Leadership Idea – You need to teach them something of significance about Leadership.  Everything you have done up to this point leads up to this moment.  We discussed 16 Leadership traits and debated  which one is the most important.  Lots of great discussion about what is most important as a leader.

If you don’t hold retreats consider adding them to your program.  They don’t have to be  overnight or complicated.  A day away works for us.  If you do retreat keep up the good work!

done up todone done so far in the day is getting them ready for this.  This year we compared 16 different Leadership traits.  Students voted and debated which one was the most important of the 16. If you don’t do retreats consider adding this to your program.  They don’t have to be complex overnight affairs.  A day away works for us.  If you are on the retreat bandwagon then keep it up. W

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