Nichole Calkins, Teacher at Advisor at Mount Rainier High School received an Excel Grant last fall for”Physical Activity Socials” Here’s her proposal: “At Mt. Rainier, all students participate in an advisory class three days a week that focuses on personal growth, social development, academic development, and college/career preparation. Students in my junior advisory believe that students sit too much during the day and would like to make the social aspect of advisory an opportunity for students to be physically active.
My students suggested the idea of hosting physical activity socials where students in advisory could come into the gym and participate in an activity while getting to know other students. I agree that this idea is a perfect opportunity for students to develop socially while benefitting from physical activity. My junior advisory class would like to turn this physical activity social into a time where they interact with underclassmen in a fun way.”
Success! Her goal was to create a program where underclassmen could interact with upperclassmen while learning and participating in a physical activity was accomplished.
Here’s what Nichole told us: My junior advisory held 6 different physical activity socials for freshmen this year and then also “practiced” 2 other times on junior advisories. The system was well liked by teachers as it provided a way to meet the social aspect of advisory in a different way.
This activity will be able to be continued next year as the equipment and structures are in place to make it a tradition. Overall, over 300 different students participated in the physical activity socials this year and next year, we hope to start earlier and do twice as many.
The first freshmen advisory that was scheduled to attend our Physical Activity Social did not want to attend. All of my students were set up in the gym ready to go, but only 2 students showed up. I asked the advisor why only 2 students came, he told me that his freshmen said that they were too afraid to do activities with the upperclassmen. This response told me just how much this activity was needed.
Freshmen in our school are often intimidated by upperclassmen and that was the point of this activity, to get to know them in a fun way. I politely asked the advisor to not give his students an option and to bring them to the gym. They all ended up coming to the gym and participating for at least part of the session. After that first experience, I asked my students to brainstorm how they could help make this activity even more fun and non-threatening for the freshmen. They decided to do mini-competitions at each station and then provide “prizes” to those students who showed the most enthusiasm in completing the competition.
The next two advisories that they used this in, the activities went much smoother and students were move involved. I believe my juniors were the ones that were most impacted by this grant because they had to develop the leadership skills to be able to make this successful. I gave some guidance, but really wanted them to be able to lead all the activities. We spent time reflecting after each session to determine how to make the next one better.
I have had these particular students for 3 years in advisory and I saw two students who don’t normally participate in anything social come alive during this assignment. They really used their communication skills to involve the freshmen and I don’t think I would have seen this particular talent without having done this project. My juniors even stated that they believed it would be even better next year because as “seniors”, we will know more and they will listen to us more :).