Making Curriculum Pop

I'm joining a school in Brooklyn that has advisory. I haven't taught advisory in several years, & I'm hoping to get some feedback on ideas. Looking forward to the discussion.

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Hey Kyle,

A lot of folks enjoy doing personality/learning style inventories. Here are some of the best online resources for this that I use with my differentiation class...


Please take this awesome Multiple Intelligences survey online.

Then read read about the 8 intelligences here.

After you take the assessment please write down the scores of your top three intelligences .

There is no fancy online interface for this test.  You might want to print it out and record the results on paper.  The test questions and scoring tools are here.  From there you can read the entire article to get some context for your brain :)  Be sure to write down your score!

This is my favorite test, but, since one woman has this locked up as her consulting baby you do have to give your e-mail results to get the "full results."  We will talk about these colors in class.  If you take this online assessment, you will get the brief blurb on your color sans joining the mailing list.  If you want a fuller report you can take this test.

This janky looking website is actually the best online Myers-Briggs test because at the end of the test links you out to multiple explanations of your type at other sites.

What advisory means, I believe, is often determined by the District and/or by the school in which you teach. Sometimes it connects with the subject you teach. For me, over the years, I've been required to do test prep, DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), job readiness, team building, counseling, financial planning, career exploration, service learning, study hall -- and so much more. It would help to know the grade level/type of school as well. Just knowing that can help me remember popping ideas.

Whatever is required by your school or district, it's a good idea to use some of the time, especially those first weeks, to build a relationship with your advisory students and for them to connect to each other. I've found this to be the best place to connect to the personal side of each student without the baggage of the reading and writing anxieties many of my students bring into the English classes I teach.

In some schools, I kept the same students through 4 years of high school and saw them through all the struggles of those adolescent years, bonding with families as well. Students came and went, of course, over that time but the advisory class (in some schools called homeroom), really felt like a family.

One of my colleagues used to take photos of his students the first day they were in his class and gave it to them when they graduated. Even if you have them for just a year, you can do them same (I have!). They're fascinated by how much they have changed in even this short of a time.

I've used some of Ryan's learning and personality styles inventories ideas before and found them very helpful for me and fun for the students. (Although the True Colors one is new to me. I can't wait to try it this fall!) Unfortunately and ironically, many inventories are not set up to appeal to all learning styles! I discovered a new inventory last winter at a workshop that does have this element but I need to find it and put it in electronic format so that I can post it here.
I'll be teaching a sophomore level advisory. The school is focused around environmental issues, especially sustainability. I appreciate the inventories Ryan, because most of mine are printed and require me to assess/score them. I use them in my regular class to help me develop groupings.
I teach 6th grade and have an advisory of 12 students, so I am not sure if these ideas will transfer to High School, but here are a few:
1. Definitely getting to know eachother activities. I have my group make a collage that tells about them. They cut pictures out of magazines or draw pictures. Then we go around and each person shares what is on their poster and why.
2. Magic Circle, Sharing Circle, Circle Time, etc... (different groups title it different things) I try to do this once or twice a week and it is a time for students to share good news, bad news or thank yous. I try to encourage students to listen and respond or ask follow up questions to items that their fellow advisees have shared. I like the thank yous as it encourages the kids to show gratitude.
3. Lots of group games -each year the group likes something different: Cards (Spoons), Apples to Apples, Cop/Murderer (Wink) with cards where the killer kills by winking at people, Pictionary, Alibi/Detective, Radio Game (we change the station and you have to be the first to name the singer),
4. Advisory Olympics - we make up silly games like paper airplane flying, paper wad basketball, etc. I think the Minute to Win it games would be a hit.
5. Journals
6. Goal Setting - my advisees set 3 specific goals at the start of the year and we check on their progress by having mini-conferences throughout the year
7. Build an advisory website or Scrapbook. I have 2 students become the historians and they take or gather pictures, record funny stories about our advisory throughout the year.

I LOVE advisory! Good luck and I hope you have a great experience!
Advisory is really not supposed to be academic-- it was designed to target the social-emotional domains. Many districts have fallen into using that time for interventions/extra support, but that is not really in the true spirit of what advisory is.

A couple of activities I did with my advisory group-- They each created a "time capsule"-- which was just a booklet they filled out with info about themselves with pictures, things they loved, etc. We checked cameras out of the LMC and took pictures of friends, favorite teachers, etc. My group was 6th graders-- they will get their time capsules back at the end of 8th grade. I created a template for it that I'd be happy to share.

Another activity I have always done is the Question Can. Every week each student must write at least one question on a slip of paper and put it in the can (anonymously, of course). I read the questions out loud and answer them. I always tell them that I will answer every question honestly, as long as it isn't an inappropriate question about my personal life. In the beginning, I usually get questions about my favorite color and how many kids I have, but a couple of months in, I start getting questions like "Was middle school hard for you? It's hard for me." I also sometimes get questions about sex. Not always easy to answer, but important for them to be able to ask.

Hope that helped!
Yes. I like this. I've also used the time capsule concept but without the depth yours seems to have. I'd like to see the template. My students are older -- senior high -- but I can adapt if needed.

I've used the question box the first week but never thought to extend it to the entire year. Thanks for the reminder.

Another good one is the letter to yourself. Students can write to their "selves" of a year or however many in the future when they will last have you in advisory. The letter includes their goals (academic and personal), wishes, desires for the next however many years. At the end of that time, they open their letters and look at what goals were realized, what has changed, and how they've changed. in that time.
I do the letter as part of the time capsule! Love it!



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