Every year of high school brings new challenges and different expectations than the year before, but most importantly, students are introduced to an increasingly wide range of opportunities. These opportunities are both academic and non-academic, shaping students not only as learners, but as individuals soon to be immersed into society as adults. Therefore, the role of educators very importantly includes instilling knowledge as well as teaching life skills within the classroom. Because of this, it is important that students are encouraged to challenge themselves on both an academic and personal level as they approach the conclusion of their required education and move on to the post high school stage of their life.
Motivating students to challenge themselves entering their junior year
A shift occurs between the sophomore and junior year of high school. With two years of high school completed, a stronger emphasis is placed on preparing for the future come post-graduation. Students often begin to have an increased amount of choices within their core classes, as well as the opportunity to enroll in more rigorous courses (depending on the classes offered at each school). However, these considerably rigorous courses and expanded involvement can be intimidating for students. Therefore it is important to encourage students to challenge themselves as learners and as individuals. Not merely from the standpoint of how they will benefit in those specific activities, but how they will contribute their growth as a whole person and to a successful future.
- Students will be asked to share potential barriers they see for taking advantage of the challenging opportunities of the upcoming year. Responses will then be written on the white board separate from each other so that there is space between them.
- Students will be given an assortment of colorful sticky-notes
- After the list of barriers has been written on the whiteboard, students will be asked to respond to these barriers using their sticky-notes. Responses can vary from agreement, to encouragement, to potential solutions to overcome these barriers.
- Students will be asked to generate at least 3 responses to ensure that everyone is participating and multiple ideas are shared.
- Once they have created a response they will stick it on the board next to the specific barrier they are addressing.
- During the process of responding and posting, students will be encouraged to carry around a notebook or use their same sticky-notes to write down any ideas shared by fellow class mates to overcome barriers. This will provide them with the ability to take away strategies that they can use in the future.
*For a complete description of the entire lesson please see the Guidance Lesson Write-up
- In larger classes, discussion can be done with "elbow partners" by having the student pair up with a peer that is close by. This will save more time than having discussion occur at the group level.
- It is helpful to have a list of activities and opportunities specific to YOUR school and community so that students have ideas of where they can get involved and challenge themselves.
- Along with activities and opportunities, provide students with resources they can receive that are also specific to your school and community so that they feel supported in their endeavors.
- Be mindful of discussing the potential benefits of rigorous courses or opportunities beyond those that are academic. For example, acknowledge personal growth benefits!
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