Daily Themes: Creating Culture in Class

If you’re looking for cultural direction within your school, a great place to start is with a MISSION. Your mission statement should be brief, precise, and direct. For example, if attendance is poor, your mission statement might be “to engage students in a positive way, so that they look forward to school, and attend whenever they are healthy.”

From a strong mission statement, we can quickly and easily create a week-long campaign focused on that specific task. Remember to make each day a direct contribution to your mission statement! I’ll outline an example from my own work below.

We decided we wanted to increase social-emotional engagement on our campus, and we knew we could do this through experiences and stories. The MISSION statement my leadership program came up with was: To create stories (emotionally significant moments and memories) in class, on campus, and in the community. Simple and clear!

From this MISSION, we derived 3 Class Goals:

  1. The development of student leaders is the most important aspect of a leadership program.
  2. The appreciation of student leaders is necessary for peak performance.
  3. Student leadership programs should have a “Family Feel” where student leaders feel connected and part of something bigger than themselves.

Daily Themes inspired by our Mission and Goals has been an absolute game changer for me, my student leaders, and our program.  So here’s what we do:

Motivation Monday (Leadership Development):  Every Monday we watch some sort of motivational video and then have a class discussion about a variety of leadership principles.  Most of the videos we watch include:  Eric Thomas, Inky Johnson, Goalcast, or The Harbor TV.

Training Tuesday (Leadership Development):  Every Tuesday student leaders are engaged in some sort of leadership lesson.  We spent the majority of class time learning, discussing, and understanding leadership concepts.

Worth It Wednesday (Appreciation of Student Leaders):  Every Wednesday I select a handful of student leaders that I call into my office.  During this one on one conversation I simply highlight all the wonderful things I appreciate about them and thank them for their recent leadership accomplishments.  These conversations are always 100% positive and are meant to encourage and inspire.

Team-Building Thursday (Family Feel):  Every Thursday student leaders participate in some sort of team building activity.  Typically these activities are based on Minute To Win It Games.  We keep score and at the end of the grading period the leadership team with them most points are rewarded with a luncheon.

Family Friday (Family Feel):  Every Friday four student leaders share with the rest of the class their Hero, Hardship, and Highlight from their lives.  During this time there is typically not a dry eye in the room.  Friday’s have proven to be very very powerful time within my leadership program.

I hope you find this helpful!  Best of luck to you and your leadership program. 

Stephen Amundson
Activities Director, TEEN TRUTH

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