Students brainstorm improvements they would like to see to school practices and how they can work to make these changes and elect “Ambassadors” for implementing these initiatives and create a plan to follow up and evaluate their success.

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Leadership skills by bringing emotional intelligence awareness to the larger school community
  2. Peer to peer relationships through an ambassador structure
  3. A sense of school safety and ownership over school atmosphere

Materials

Brainstorming boards (chalkboard, white board, poster paper, etc), markers/chalk, email (if appropriate)

Exercises

Time Activity Notes
2 mins
Opening
  • Introduce the TED talk: ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ by Sir Ken Robinson.
  • You may say something like: the man who gives the talk argues that our current school system is flawed and needs to be changed.
  • Ask students to listen carefully to why and how he thinks schools need to change.
  • Pause along the way to ask prompts based on student engagement and interest.
10-20 mins (depending on how much of the video you watch)
TED Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
  • Show students the TED Talk here.
  • The basic points are:
    1. that kids are creative
    2. schools need to support that creativity and therefore change if they do not,
    3. and that kids can drive the changes that schools need to undergo.
If you cannot spend all 20 minutes on his talk, the first 3:00 is a pretty solid pitch for creative solutions in education. There are other ways to cut the video, as well, to fit your needs.

This work of advocating for emotional intelligence practices is especially pertinent to the work done in the “Brain Rules” project of energized/motivated.

There’s a particularly powerful and pertinent anecdote about choreographer Gillian Lynne and her learning experience from 14:50 – 17:30.

5 mins
Challenge
  • Be Ambassadors of Creativity and Emotional Intelligence: Charge students with the idea that the ability to influence and shape for the better the atmosphere of your school is in their hands.
  • For the rest of this class, students will:
    • Brainstorm changes to school practices,
    • people to talk to or work with,
    • needs of the school community,
    • emotional intelligence initiatives,
    • and other ways they can impact the school for the better.
  • Create a “priority list” of initiatives you want to try to enact.
  • Elect “Ambassadors” (or “Ambassador Groups”) to being putting these plans into effect.
The logistics and scope of the changes that Ambassadors will be able to make will vary greatly depending on the nature of your school. Respond to student interest, ability, and school receptiveness to student leadership in your planning this exercise.
10 mins
Brainstorming
  • Give students time to freely brainstorm as many ideas as they can for ways to improve the school community when it comes to creativity and emotional intelligence.
5 mins
Prioritizing
  • Guide students to prioritize 3-4 high-impact, realistic, and attainable initiatives that students can lead the charge to implement in the school.
5 mins
Electing Ambassadors
  • Guide students through electing one or two (or larger groups, if appropriate) Ambassadors for each initiative the group has prioritized.
The success of this lesson relies on the follow-up of the Ambassadors. Create a plan for when Ambassadors will report back to the group, how they will get support if they need it, and, if appropriate, a timeline for enacting the initiative.
5-10 mins
Reflection

See “formative assessment” below.

Criteria for Success/Formative Assessment

Students will successfully pitch and (hopefully) enact the prioritized initiatives within the school community.

Suggested Reflection Questions:

  • What would our school community be like if all of our prioritized initiatives were successfully enacted?
  • What was the process of brainstorming like for you?
  • What do you think is the most important change to make for heightened creativity and emotional intelligence in our school community?

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