Our latest project involved what we were calling the "Thank You Wall." Using the TED Talk by Drew Dudley as our inspiration, we decided to create a space for anyone in the building to say thank you to someone who had a positive impact on their life. It was extremely well received as you can see from the pictures below. The columns we created were 6ft tall by 2 feet wide so between the 2 of them there was 96 square feet of whiteboards filled with nearly 400 messages of thanks.
The project was headed up by one of our seniors. He commented in the meeting that on one day he saw a girl glance up at the board, see a message that was written to her, and a huge smile broke out on her face. He said right then it made all the planning and time worth it.
But what I really wanted to share was the discussion that ensued for the next hour. The talk we chose was by Shawn Achor about what makes us happy. There have been a lot of changes in our school/district, not all of which have been well received by the students. I thought this video would be a chance for the students to get refocused on the important things in their life.
This discussion was intense! I decided to try a new system and had the students write down their comments on post-it notes and stick them to their faces whenever they had something to say. We have a tendency to get very passionate and talk over each other so this was a way for us to stay organized and keep track of our next comments. Students had 3 and 4 notes stuck to their face, they are standing on desks trying to be recognized next. Two girls who are best friends got into a huge argument over the ability to have selfless acts. It was amazing!!! I have never seen students debate so adamantly before over something that was, in reality, so trivial.
In this whole discussion, the students decided that we needed to have a better focus, a mission statement to guide us in our future meetings. Here is what they came up with (I had no part in this at all!):
Objectives of the MiddSouth TED Ed Club:
1. Make a positive impact on the school community
2. Do something to benefit others
3. Change the way people treat each other.
4. Create a bonded community.
5. Make a change in ourselves.
6. Do something that other schools don’t.
7. Provide a forum for unique ideas that have nothing to do with what happens in the classroom.
8. Put ideas into action.
9. Bring our ideas to younger kids.
In all the years I have been an advisor, I have never seen a group of students so excited at a meeting. I can't wait until next week's meeting and I wish it wasn't only 30 minutes long.