Advisory Program 1998-99

Background For the '98-99 year I was assigned 29 students and asked to provide them with an advisory program. The advisor class met every day for approximately 32 minutes.

The Beginning We started the year with twice a week lessons about goal setting and organizational skills. The materials came from the company that provides our assignment notebooks.

Three days a week were then devoted to study, research and individual conferencing. Students are allowed to work together, use the LMC, computer lab or get help from an available teacher.

Students also were encouraged to make use of the seven computers available in my room.

The Curriculum Several teachers met over the summer and organized advisory lessons we thought might work with our students. While the first few weeks were worthwhile, it became obvious that to work the program had to be tailored to the group, the teacher and the classroom.

The Challenge My group was diverse and did not always express a high degree of interest in my ideas. That began to change as we got to know each other and work together on a project. Our advisor agreed to participate in the Village of Skokie program to provide Christmas gifts to a needy family. I gave the responsibility to the group and they worked on a taffy apple sale and a candy sale to raise money for the project. Students were then given the cash to shop for the items we had been told the family wanted. Finally, the group wrapped the packages and we delivered them to the village.

Listen My group wanted to have input into the days for advisory. We changed our days for advisory activities from Tuesday and Thursday to Monday and Friday. We also began to have some more physical advisory activities using the gyms, when available. We also began an ongoing lunch trip to a local Chinese restaurant (located within walking distance of the school) as a reward and as a group building and socialization activity. The trip, know as "going to China" has really been fun and I am proud of the way students have handled themselves at the Imperial China Restaurant.

Project 2 Our school has had an ongoing relationship with Garfield Park Conservatory. When I received a call that there was going to be an Earth Day program and work day in April I devised an activity to help students think about this challenge. I divided the group into six groups (random #s as they enter) and gave each group a word(s) on a piece of paper. The words were: environment, earth, mother earth, environmental awareness, sacrifice and giving. Each group was asked to define and give examples of the words. After five minutes we shared the ideas. Then I asked the group to figure out what the words, taken together might mean. It did not take long for someone to mention Earth Day. Students shared what they knew about Earth Day. Then I shared the project idea with them. I was pleasantly surprised to find many ready and eager to help. We are making plans to go and thinking of other ways to help the environment around the school. see Earth Day!


Innovate/Improvise On the days when we do not have activities I have been working with several students to learn to use digital cameras. Students have taken many pictures and are importing them into a presentation program called Gizmos. Using that program, one group has already produced a "show" that has been put on our local cable access channel. More programs are in the works. I am also working to develop skills in using the Internet as a search and resource tool.

Tea Time...(or the Cyber Cafe) Students expressed an interest in having a "spot of tea" during our class. I found an old coffee pot and now in addition to healthy snacks, a number of students have a cup of tea during our advisor time...

Ownership I have provided lots of ideas for the students, but I have listened to them also. Before the end of the year, I hope to add their voice to this web page. Some of the pictures in this page are student produced.



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