The following topics are taught to all students throughout the school year during Advisory group sessions.Giving and Receiving Feedback:
Learning how to give and receive feedback is an essential collaboration and learning skill. Without the skill to deliver informative and effective feedback, one's ability to collaborate is severely limited. Additionally, being open to receiving feedback is equally important, as it is the acceptance of feedback that leads to growth and change. Students learn strategies and common pitfalls to avoid during the feedback process.
Students learn about safety and appropriate-use issues involving technology. The curriculum is designed with a practical approach that enables students to better understand the types of technology used and how to ensure privacy, identity, and personal safety. We also discuss ways to use technology in a healthy manner and some poor decisions to avoid.
Healthy Balanced Friendships:
Students examine the importance of being in balanced relationships, the signs of positive and negative personal and group actions, and strategies for dealing with and extracting oneself from an unhealthy relationship. The goal of the program is to introduce and reinforce the positive ways in which students can contribute to a friendly and healthy environment.
Students learn definitions of mindfulness and practice several forms. We also explore ways that directing our attention can lead to stress reduction and thoughtful decision making. We also discuss why mindfulness seems to be a high-profile topic.
The goal is to examine different relationships students have with parents, friends, coaches, teachers, and others. Students learn that “healthy” does not always mean everything is perfect and/or always positive. You can disagree/argue with your parents and still have a healthy relationship, because there is a baseline of love and respect. We lightly explore the idea of girlfriends/boyfriends and how students should never have to compromise safety, comfort, respect, or kindness for someone else.
Students learn about cultural competence, think about their cultural background, cultural practices, and learn about their classmates and how to work effectively across cultures. Cultural competence is all about acknowledging, understanding, and appreciating that our school, neighborhood, community, state, country, and world have a diversity of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Students practice collaboration and communication to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
Our goal is to explore the bullying dynamic, have students practice conflict resolution and expand their circle of influence to productively deal with conflict in their school community. Students learn to practice “upstanding” to make a positive difference and to understand the dynamic between the bully, witness, and victim. Students practice appropriate responses to conflict that deescalate vs. escalate, honor vs. degrade, and empower vs. humiliate. Finally, we explore the roots of conflict, misunderstanding, insecurity, etc., and challenge students to "expand their circle of influence" to care for members of their community.
Information in this unit raises student awareness of various strengths we each have. We want students to be aware of many ways they are smart, in addition to the type of aptitude often measured on school and placement tests. We explore the meanings of linguistic, logical and mathematical, musical, kinesthetic, spatial-visual, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. Through discussion and surveys, students develop a better understanding of their own strengths.
Critical Citizens in the Information Age:
Students analyze sources and types of information (media), looking to better understand how and why we consume it, as well as how it is delivered to us. The goal is to increase students’ ability to select, absorb, and use media with a critical eye.
Students explore ideas surrounding their mental health, as well as physical and social wellness. Many lessons begin or end with some form of stress-relieving strategies, such as simple breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation. We identify common stressors and differentiate between negative and positive stress. Students develop over time a greater awareness of warning signs, coping strategies, and tools to approach stressful situations. Personal wellness goals are also encouraged.
Drugs and Alcohol:
The unit on drugs and alcohol is meant to give a comprehensive overview of the major issues inherent in drug and alcohol abuse, as well as encourage children to make smart personal decisions not to experiment at this age. Students discuss the beneficial and harmful aspects of pharmacology, focusing specifically on the most commonly abused "gateway" drugs, tobacco/juuling, alcohol, and marijuana. As part of this study, students role play "real world" responses to peer pressure to try drugs and/or alcohol. Children also think through ways to assist friends who may have put themselves at risk with exposure to drugs and/or alcohol.
Living with Digital Media:
What is the place of digital media in our lives? How does one judge the intentions and impact of people’s words and actions online? What are the benefits and risks of presenting oneself in different ways online? These are a few of many questions we tackle in our advisory lessons. Students become more aware of the role digital media plays in their lives and learn to navigate the many choices they need to make while using technology, sharing information, and using social media.
Students discuss the meaning of grit and its importance as a life skill. Students think of experiences throughout their lives in which they have practiced grit, or know someone who has practiced it. They then research and share the story of how someone meaningful to them (e.g., a celebrity, a historical figure, family member, friend) demonstrated grit and perseverance to accomplish something important.