The purpose of this strategy is to build a culture of reflection. This strategy can be modified to be used in numerous coaching situations; it can even be modified to be used in high school classrooms. The goal is for teacher and staff reflection and using that reflection to improve teaching practices.
In this strategy, first day of school pictures - with a message - are taken and disseminated to family members and posted on social media. Parents proudly show off their students holding signs about the student's career goals. Students at the high school level do not always get to take first day of school pictures with parents for many reasons; teachers can continue this tradition. The purpose of this activity is to get to know students personally. For this strategy, students are proudly displayed in the classroom on a “fridge” or other display area for the entire year with signs about their career goals. These pictures technically are taken on the second day of school, so students have time to prepare for the picture. This accomplishes several goals: students begin to write down career goals, teachers learn more about their students by learning their career goals, and students begin to build relationships with each other.
The purpose of this strategy is to hear from family members about the goals, hopes and fears they have for their children. Events such as back-to-school night, enrollment night, and meet-the-teacher night are perfect opportunities for this strategy.
Students, especially those who are nearing a transition, can often feel that their families or other trusted adults don't support their goals, hopes, and dreams. This strategy allows students to write their goals down, and then to take the perspective of a trusted adult, to try to understand that adult's point of view about their future. This strategy is specifically for seniors approaching graduation, but it can be used with others in high school.
This strategy supports a structured activity for staff to engage in reflective conversations in an indirect yet intentional manner. The goal is for teachers and staff to reflect on personal beliefs and habits and to learn how to listen first when a reflection is shared. This strategy can be used individually, in a small group, or even as a whole staff.
It is important that students have space to identify and reflect on their emotions, and people who are invested in knowing how they feel. This strategy can be used in homeroom, advisory, or other learning opportunities that are focused on the social and emotional development of students. With consistent use of this strategy, students will not only become more trusting of their peers and the adults around them, but they will also learn to navigate their emotions. Students are given a feelings chart to help expand their vocabulary and clarify their emotions. Many students, when asked how they feel, say "good" or "mad" or "irritated". Providing them with more emotions and faces to match helps them identify their feelings better.