Current Mentoring Activity - June 1

Study hall day and/or quiet reading.  Blog work.  Meet with students as needed to discuss final exams.   Here's a few good videos related to taking exams:

(Lexicon students to Mr. Pepe's room, please!)

Former Mentoring Activity - May 25

Make sure students understand your grading (blogs/HAL) - and on that note..
.....take some time for last minute blog entries and/or service wrap-ups?

.....Need another blog entry?  
How about having students write about how they're going to prepare for final exams   -OR-
How they might advance their academic/social/emotional growth over the summertime

Time for a short video/discussion?   Check out this interesting one on the connection
 between kindness and human biology.   It's thought provoking!

STUDENTS!  Please complete the following mentoring survey today

TEACHERS!  I will email a survey for teachers about mentoring - and I'll share the results at our next team meeting!  Please complete it as your next convenience.

Former Mentoring Activity - May 11
With the school year winding down, and with so many commitments already in the calendar, this will likely be the last grade-level organized mentoring activity. Students must finish this activity today.  Please collect the work at the end of the period.  Teachers are asked to look it over before leaving them in my mailbox.

Today, students are asked to write a letter to an "anonymous" 8th grade student on blank or lined paper.  This letter should be a personal glimpse into life in Grade 9.  It should provide a student with advice for their success next year, and to help them better understand the challenges of high school, in general. 
It should NOT focus on specific teachers.  (Aside from this being potentially hurtful, with the departure of Thiele, Johnson and Robins - the team will look quite different next year!)  Specific students names, other than the author of the letter, should be omitted.

This letter will be placed into an envelope (along with 93 others), randomly assorted, and delivered to the 8th grade teachers for distribution to their students. Again, this will occur randomly, so students are NOT to address this letter to any one student in particular.   They must identify themselves at the end of the letter, using a formal closing, such as "Sincerely, ________" or "Yours truly, _________" so that if the receiving student chooses to discuss it in person, they may!

Some helpful prompts:
  • What was the biggest surprise of Grade 9? 
    • Pleasant surprises?
    • Disappointments?  
  • Were your expectations of Grade 9 actually accurate?  Why or why not?
  • What are some of the greatest challenges in Grade 9 - academically AND socially?
  • How did you habits, academic and/or social, have to change in order to be more successful in Grade 9?
  • How is technology used differently in the high school, when compared with middle school
  • What is the role of service/service-learning in the high school?  How is that different than middle school?
  • What recommendations would you suggest for personal development, over the summer?  
  • Any reading recommendations?  Helpful websites or online resources?

With time remaining - encourage students to return to their blog/journal.  It would be EXCELLENT (time permitting) to have them photograph the letter they wrote and upload it to their blog as a reflection piece!

Former mentoring activity - April 20   Earth Week special (click here)

Former mentoring activity - Review and discuss with your students
1. Begin by reminding students of our expectations and evaluation criteria:
a. Mentoring is designed for building community.  This implies doing things that promote a better learning and social environment for everyone.  
To achieve this, we discuss, write, reflect, and engage in group activities - including COMMUNITY SERVICE
b. Evaluation criteria are up to the teacher - but it is recommended to weight 50% blogging/journaling and 50% for all non-journaling activities (see Habits and Activities of Learning (HAL) rubric).   It is recommended that teachers provide scored rubrics to students as often as possible to indicate their overall performance with journaling and with HAL.

2. Regarding service - one of the big goals for this year was to do something in/for our own community here at ASFG.   Mentoring evaluations should reflect students initiative and success (or lack of) with service.   Small, and thoughtful activities are really all that's expected - and abundant time has been given in mentoring for these to have been organized.

3. Remind students that service is also part of the ASFG graduation requirements.   Service work that is done outside class time can be submitted for Service Learning hours required for graduation.   Encourage students to explore this webpage about service hours and review the following:

There are two types of service hours, type A and B

A" hours can be described as opportunities off campus. For example, helping the community by volunteering with an environmental institution, helping at a local hospital, visiting an orphanage, etc.  Students working with Mr. Robins and Lexicon of Sustainability earn these types of hours.   The "B" hours are usually earned on campus. For example, students could help collect trash, promote a green school to their friends, assist teachers or administrators, organize events, etc.

Students need at least 50 A hours, but that is not the limit for A hours. They can earn all 100 hours as "A" or they can earn 50 A and 50 B. We know that volunteering on campus is a good opportunity to learn how to serve our community and work as a team. And we encourage our students to complete the majority of their hours off campus and ensure that they are gaining experiences outside ASFG.

4.  Now, just to get an interesting discussion going...many people are probably aware that most US universities recently sent out their acceptance notices for September admissions to all those nervous seniors, all over the world.   
This college admissions essay was written by a young woman who was admitted to nearly every Ivy-league college/university.  It's interesting and creative!  Please read it aloud!
  • Does it surprise anyone that it's so creative - so personal?  Why or why not?
  • What are the qualities that make this such effective writing?  Be specific!
  • Do you have a place like "Costco" in your life?   Explain. that to the college admissions essay style/structure of
ASFG's very own- Daniel Soberanes.  Notice any similarities?

Daniel just found recently that he got accepted Harvard, Stanford - and a number of other TOP TIER colleges (with scholarships, too!)

Thanks again to Daniel for sharing this essay with us!

Remaining time is for service planning/organization.

Former mentoring activity - Feb. 24
Please be advised that this is a regular mentoring day - no special activities or trips to the auditorium (finally!).  FIRST, please have students sign up for Career Fair next Tuesday.  (This is a special schedule day, too - so be reminded).  Here's the link

Considering you haven't had a regular mentoring class in a while - how about a fun little ice-breaker?  This one's called "Two Truths and a Lie"
  • One at a time, each student shares three things about themselves. Two should be true and one should be a lie - and not necessarily in that order.  (It's fun if you can get people to select the lie as a truth!)  When students guess which response was the lie, they should explain their reasoning.
About two weeks ago, students wrote (pencil and paper) reflections in our chem class that I will place in each teacher mailbox.  Students can copy these into their blogs or journals, or write new ones if the teacher prefers.

Here are a couple of new prompts - if you'd prefer to start fresh with any of these:
  • Next week is career fair.  If you could do anything you wanted, and MONEY WAS NOT IN ANY WAY AFFECTING YOUR CAREER DECISION, describe the type of position you'd want.  Discuss the type of work, your responsibilities, the location, the work environment, your supervisor (or lack of supervisor), etc
  • Many people in our generation appear to be considering a move next year. (Haven't you noticed all the people that have said they're taking tests, conducting school visits, etc?).   What do you think motivates people to want to choose another school?   What kinds of things does our school need to do better in order to prevent students from leaving?   Be specific and detailed!

Former mentoring activity - December 2
Send LEXICON students to Robins' room
All other students choose a study hall OR go to auditorium to meet the FIL guest author...

Former mentoring activity - November 25
Watch "Do the Math"  (this is by the same directors of Disruption, which we saw last March prior to the big global climate march )

Former mentoring activity - November 18 "How they do it in the movies'
Blog Prompt: Last week as an entire generation, Mr. Lemmon had us choosing "Agree" or "Disagree" on a number of issues.  One of the questions was if you agree that every generation should get their own t-shirt, like the seniors do.  Here was what I saw up in the seats - most of you agreed that every generation should get its own t-shirt (see picture on left).  The problem is, that generational shirts (some people think) lead to generation RIVALRY.   What is generation rivalry?   When one generation thinks it's better (somehow) than another generation, and acts inappropriately because of it.
    The picture on the right is a picture I found somewhere on the Internet that reminded me of Harry Potter.  Each house in Harry Potter consists of students from ALL generations.  
Watch these! It's how they do it in the movies!  The Sorting Hat AND Funny take on Harry Potter houses, then....WRITE!

                Notice it says, "Four Houses - One School

Your blog needs to discuss if their is a relationship between generational rivalries and bullying.  Is it related, or isn't it?  Is the benefit of generational pride (and the t-shirt) worth the possible consequences? What do you think of the Harry Potter idea? Good?  Bad? Why?  IF you like that idea, how would you name the houses?  Be descriptive and provide some personal examples.

LAST:   Show your blog/journal entry to your teacher when you are finished, before moving on.

The rest of the time is for working on your service idea.   Here are a couple of videos to help inspire you.  Watch 'em!
3) Here's a great idea!  (It doesn't necessarily have to help our high school!)
Complete this form  with at least two or three other people whom you'd like to do your service project with.   You may ask your teacher to go and get a printed copy, if you feel you must have one.

You are expected to turn this into your mentor teacher at the end of the class 
ONLY IF you do not begun a service project already.  

Former mentoring activity - Getting Ready for WWW - November 4
Hello Grade 9!  Your mentor teacher will be asking you today if you want to come up with an idea for Week Without Walls.   Really!   You might not be traveling to DF, but there are a ton of cool options you can enjoy right here.  However, you can make your own suggestions that a teacher may wish to help you with.  For example, last year, one student suggested a MINECRAFT group - and Ms. Kies actually decided to do it! So, in other words, your ideas really do count.

After this, your teacher may be speaking to you about Blogging/Journaling AND getting your mentoring group's SERVICE PROJECT GOING! As Robins often says - you've got to get the easy A's where you can, right?!  Here's a rubric I shared with your mentor teacher about how to evaluate a blog/journal post. Maybe you should ask your teacher if this is a how they're evaluating your blog entries.   Don't forget that blog entries can include video, pictures, or other things besides just text.  Give 'em some bling!   Check with your teacher for a blog prompt, IF you're blogging today

Last, I'm asking you, - ask your mentoring teacher, "What has Robins shared with you to get us working on other important things today?"   Thank you!

Former mentoring activity - Keep your eye on the prize - September 30

You won’t start with blogging - you’re going to end with it.   However, at the end of this activity you’ll get a choice of which prompt you want to blog about.    

We’re doing this activity to get you ready for the big college fair coming up soon.   But before you think seriously about college, you need to think seriously about your career interests. Obviously, there’s no point going to a school that specializes in engineering if you want to be an art historian.   You’ll need your computer.  

1. Follow the link for either the Career Interest Survey in Spanish or English.  Choose either one.  Open them in PREVIEW, and read the directions carefully.  Simply highlight the choices that apply to you so that you can get a count/tally for each box.

    1. Career interest survey (Spanish)

    2. Career interest survey (English)    

2.  Next, once you’ve identified your career cluster - go to this link to read more about.   Simply click on the cluster that applies to you. Be sure to check out and download the following things, at a minimum.  

  • Career cluster “frame” (pdf file) or an unusual list of careers in that category.   You’re sure to find something you’ve never heard of or considered!
  • Plan of study (pdf file) so you can see what it will take academically to get there.     

3.  Repeat this process for the career cluster with your 2nd highest total.  Does this one seem to suit you better than the first?

4.  Share both with a friend and ask them - "Which job do you think suits me better, and why? Perhaps that will help!

5.  Last, check out the demand/growth outlook and salary expectations for some of the professions you found at the following website. It’s easy to use - just look the jobs up by name.

6. 15 minutes of blogging with time remaining (see below) quiet reading. If service-planning time is preferred, over quiet reading, that's ok too.

Blog Prompts for today - choose one:

Prompt 1

Since the start of the year, we've emphasized in mentoring that the growth of your character - your "conciencia" -  may be more important than anything else you can achieve at ASFG.  That's why we've been encouraging you to get involved in service - and we know that even a school as good as ours can be improved through service.   

The problem is, it’s easy to forget how the simplest gestures matter just as much, if not more, than the big ones, such as going out of your way to include others, helping out someone in need, or standing up to those who are disrespectful.

What things have you observed, good or bad, in this area?  And how have you chosen to address these issues?   If you haven't, what's stopping you?   If you have, how'd you manage it?  You probably shouldn't identify anyone by name.   Just keep it general.

Prompt 2

You hear it all the time, “What do you want to be when you grown up?”  It’s kind of a crazy question.  If your parents ask you, and you reply, “I want to be a fisherman” you’re probably going to disappoint them.   In other words, you can’t really be that honest, depending on who is asking you.  Until now.  However,  there’s one condition.   You CANNOT answer this question while thinking about money or pay.  Yes, we know that doctors often make a nice living.  So do talented salespeople.  But if you’re only in it for the money, you’re not likely to do it for long.  Studies prove that.  So, here’s the official question:

  1. If money were not a concern, what career would you choose for yourself?   Why?

  2. Consider the choice you just expressed.  What skills do you think are really necessary for you to be successful in this role?   Where do you plan on getting these skills?

Former mentoring activity:  Why do we care, Part II:  Thinking critically - September 9
1.   Begin with this video clip.  It may help prompt you to consider what to blog about today.  Your teacher may choose to watch it as a whole class, or let you watch it individually, with headphones.  

2.  When you're done with the video - turn to a partner who is also done with the video to discuss the following:
  • What's is outrospection?   (as described in the video)
  • What is empathy?  (there were two kinds described in the video. See if you can identify them.)
  • How does outrospection relate to empathy?       
  • Identify and describe the skills of highly empathic people (people with a lot of empathy).  

3.  Time for blogging!  If empathy is so important and can help you lead a better life - why don't we teach empathy in schools... (or do we?)  Pretend you're a school principal.  You want the students who graduate from your school to be as prepared as possible for all the challenges they're going to face, right? 

a. First, explain what skills and qualities you think the best colleges and universities are looking for in their new students. Alternatively, explain what skills and qualities you think the world's top employers are looking for in their new employees.  Don't just state opinions....back up your statements with evidence!

b.  Based on your answer in Part A, explain the kinds of things schools should do differently to help their graduates obtain these skills.   How does that differ from the way things are currently, at MOST schools?

c. Is there anything we're doing this year to help you build some of those really important skills ...skills we may not be teaching in class?   If you recognize something - describe it in detail!   Again, attach any artifacts, pictures, videos, etc that you feel may support or enhance what you write.

4.  Service Planning Time:  
  • Have you looked at the Padlet we shared with the whole generation to come up with service ideas?  
  • Maybe you want to hook up with some students from another mentoring group entirely? 
  • Maybe you've got your own group in your own mentoring class?   
All of this is fine!  Anyone who wants to move among mentoring classes to meet with another student must get permission from their own mentoring teacher, as well as the one where they'd like to go.  (Space in every class is limited - please be sensitive!) In order to coordinate any of this, you're going to need a solid written plan.
Complete and share this form with your mentor teacher after you and your service group gets together to answer all the questions.  You only need to turn in one for the whole group.  Some of you may be further ahead in your planning than others, and may finish today.  If not, that's ok.  Use all the time remaining - and consider going to ask your mentor teacher for help, if needed.

Miscellaneous Resources - please explore these if you have time.

ASFG Graduation Requirements for Service (adapted from the website)
    During the high school years, students are required to complete 100 hours of community service as part of the graduation requirement. Students have an extensive variety of projects to choose from in the List of High School Service Learning Opportunities above. 

    It is important to note that students must complete the hours during their time in High School.  Therefore, if they completed the hours in 8th grade we don't count those towards High School.

    Types of Service Hours

    There are two types of service hours, type A and B.  

    A" hours can be described as opportunities off campus. For example, helping the community by volunteering with an environmental institution, helping at a local hospital, visiting an orphanage, etc.  

    The "B" hours are usually earned on campus. For example, students could help collect trash, promote a green school to their friends, assist teachers or administrators, organize events, etc.

    Students need at least 50 A hours, but that is not the limit for A hours. They can earn all 100 hours as "A" or they can earn 50 A and 50 B. We know that volunteering on campus is a good opportunity to learn how to serve our community and work as a team. And we encourage our students to complete the majority of their hours off campus and ensure that they are gaining experiences outside ASFG.