Mt. Ararat Middle School Advisor Group Program Working Manual Revised: August 2017 1
Table of Contents Mission
3 Advisor Responsibilities
4 Toolbox 6 Additional Resources
8 Purpose of this Manual The purpose of this manual is to acquaint staff with important aspects of Mt. Ararat Middle School Advisor Group program. This program has been a part of the MAMS culture since 2001. This document consists of the following components: Mission Statements.​ This gives the reader an overview as to the philosophy and intent of the Advisor Group Program. Responsibilities.​ This details the areas of responsibility to which each advisor must attend. This section is not prescriptive as to how the advisor accomplishes these tasks. Some of the strategies are evident, while others are the subject of the next section of the manual. Toolbox:.​ This section offers links to specific strategies, activities, and handouts for accomplishing some of the responsibilities. 2
Advisor Group Mission Preamble.​ ​Ted Sizer, an educator and education reformer, once stated that every student in any school ought to have at least one adult that knows him/her well. The standard he cited was that the adult should be able to write a comprehensive essay that says something of significance about the student’s interests, aspirations, aptitudes, and educational and life goals. The Mt. Ararat Middle School Advisor Group Program serves to assure that such an adult exists for each student. Almost every member of the professional staff is assigned a small group of students that are grouped by grade level. Each school day starts with a ten minute Advisor Group meeting. On Wednesdays, the time is extended to thirty minutes. Some of this time is allocated to morning announcements, and other administrative tasks. The primary purpose of this time, however, is for the advisor to create a familial setting that gives each advisee a sense of belonging. A successful Advisor Group comes about as the result of an attentive advisor taking the responsibility to employ strategies that create a healthy relationship among all members of the Advisor Group. Being a quality advisor is comparable to being a quality teacher. Much of the endeavor has a heuristic quality to it, while some part of the role is defined by clear expectations of practice contained in this manual. It is expected that each advisor will accomplish the mission and tasks of the role in his/her own unique style. Mission Statements.​ The mission of the Mt. Ararat Middle School Advisor Group program is that: ● Each student has at least one positive relationship with an adult at school. ● Each student will have an increased sense of school community and connectedness. ● The Advisor will be an important advocate for each of his/her students. ● The Advisor will help facilitate communication between home and school, as well as help the student navigate through their academic learning goals. ● Each student will develop important social and resiliency skills as he/she moves into his/her teenage years. 3
Responsibilities Associated with the advisor program are several tasks for which the Advisor is responsible, including the following ongoing and focused programing responsibilities. Each advisor can decide how to do each responsibility in his/her own style. For each focused programming responsibility, the ​Advisor Toolbox ​contains designed activities and handouts if needed. The advisor is responsible for the following: ONGOING: ● Advocate Role: ○ Advisors are expected to be a key point person for each of his/her advisees. This also means getting to know them well and checking in with each student. If the Advisor notices that something is bothering one of his/her advisees, he/she may help them get support from a counselor. If an advisee is struggling with something at school, the Advisor may ask to help him/her resolve it. ● Parent Communication: ○ Advisors are expected to call each of their Advisees parents two weeks into the start of the school year: ■ Check in with how the first days of school are going ■ Remind them of Open House and Fall Conferences ● Academic Progress Check-Ins​: ○ Advisors are expected to have a sense of how his/her Advisees are doing academically and check in with them throughout the year. At least two times per year, the Advisor is to sit down individually with his/her advisees to review Learning Goals through Empower, and develop goals. ● Attendance Monitoring: ○ Advisors will build a positive expectation for attending school and work to improve the relationship between the parent/child and the school by communicating directly with families regarding attendance concerns. ○ Advisor will monitor attendance for red flags or patterns. ○ Advisor will speak with child (one on one) and call/email parent. Advisor will document this contact in Infinite Campus. ○ Advisor may contact School Counselor to consider a Child Study.
● School Wide Communication: ○ Ensure that daily announcements are heard by advisees. ○ Advisor may prompt his/her advisees to check email and/or Empower. ○ Colleagues may periodically give an item to pass along to one or more advisees. ○ School Wide Surveys (Gallup, MIYHS) may be taken in Advisor Groups. ○ Discussions about school events or culture climate/issues as they arise. 4
FOCUSED PROGRAMMING: ● 6th Grade Topics: ○ Quarter 1:​Community Building ○ Quarter 2-3: ​Social Skill Development ○ Quarter 3-4: ​Growth Mindset ● 7th Grade Topics: ○ Quarter 1: ​Community Building ○ Quarter 2-3: ​Digital Citizenship ○ Quarter 3-4: ​Peer Relationships ● 8th Grade Topics: ○ Quarter 1: ​Community Building ○ Quarter 2-3: ​Aspirations ○ Quarter 3-4: ​Transitions ●
Optional, but Traditionally Done by Many of Advisors Birthdays​. Acknowledgment of this day via a card, note, treat, etc. is very much appreciated. Birthdays can be found on Infinite Campu​s. Extracurricular​. Attending or even making note of an extracurricular event for one or more advisees is always quite a boost. Advisor groups could meet for lunch. Student Recognition​. When an advisee accomplishes something of significance an acknowledgement can be announced at a Stand Up Meeting or sent along to the principal for consideration of inclusion in the principal’s and/or district newsletter. Group Community Service​. Some Advisor Groups can perform a common community service activity in the school or community. 5
Toolbox​: Each educator will decide on his/her own how to best fulfill the mission and responsibilities of the Advisor Group. The following resources are meant to be neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. TOPIC​: Community Building ● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Students will participate in discussions and activities that develop and create a trusting, respectful, and safe group environment for each student in the advisory. ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Creating Group Norms and Expectations in the first session. ○ Get to know each member of the advisory. ○ Revisiting and Reviewing Code of Conduct. ○ Learning about school and team’s core values. ○ Participating in Team Building/Cooperative Challenges as a group. ○ Celebrating cultural diversity of the advisor group, school, and community. ● Resource Bank: ○ Creating Group Norms and Expectations in the first session. - “A First Advisory Group Session” 6
○ Diversity -​Lesson on Diversity​: -Lesson on Cultural Identity​: ○ Get to know each member of the advisory. (IceBreakers) -“DROP THAT TARP”​- Split group in half. Two teachers hold up a tarp or sheet separating the two groups. Each round 1 person from each team sits directly on the other side of the tarp. Count to 3, drop the tarp, and the students say the name of the other person as fast as they can. Person who said name second or not at all joins other team. Icebreaker ends when one team has all members. -The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Paired Introductions; p. 116 -​The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Advisor Interview; p. 117 -​The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Find Someone Who...; p. 119 -T​he Advisor Guide​: Activity: Personal Identity Card ; p. 130 - “​The Great Wind Blows for...​” - “Postcards to my teacher”​- Each student creates a postcard either about their summer or about them. The front has an image of what they did/who they are, and the back is postcard note as written to teacher. Students present to group. Could be hung-up in advisory space. - ​“Two truths and a lie”​ -Sit in circle. Each person tells 2 truths and 1 lie about themselves. (Without revealing what is what.) Rest of group goes tries to guess the person’s truths and lie. - Lots of icebreaker activities: -More resources available in boxes in Guidance Office. -Icebreaker books in teacher’s corner. ○ Revisiting and Reviewing Code of Conduct -Can be simple discussion starting with think-pair-share. ○ Learning about school and community core values. -Take an advisory period for each of the school’s core values. Discussions, videos, etc. -Create core value posters: Each student picks a core value,and creates a poster that includes the core value, a quote that embodies the core value for them, and a drawing that represents them. -Create advisory “Core Value Quilt” - Each student picks the core value that is most important to them. Each student gets “quilt square” (piece of paper cut to same size) where they write their name, and the core value that is most important to them with their choice of decoration. Pieces get “quilted” together, and 7
advisor displays quilt so everyone can see the value that each member “values” the most. ○ Participating in Team Building/Cooperative Challenges as a group *Note: Advisor should leave about 5-10 minutes at the end of each activity for debrief and real-life applications. * --​The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Silent Squares Problem Solving ; p. 121 -T​he Advisor Guide​: Activity: Chocolate River ; p. 123 -T​he Advisor Guide​: Activity: Cultural Sharing ; p. 129 -Affirmations- Each person gets their name on a slip of paper and in a jar. Throughout the year, draw a name. Every student in the advisor group writes an affirmation note about how that student makes advisory a better place. - “All aboard” - - “The Line Game”- - “Human Knot” - -Project Adventure Book with Cooperative Games- See Tricia Cherry Checking and Sending Email​ (15 Minutes - All Grades) TOPIC​: Social Skills Development ● Broad Learning Goals: ○ Students will learn the social behaviors that promote positive interaction with others and the environment. ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Students will understand how to communicate with others ○ Students will understand how to problem solve ○ Students will understand how to show empathy ○ Students will understand how to participate in group activities ○ Students will understand how to behave in public ○ Students will understand how to accept and appreciate differences in others ● Resource Bank: ○ List of social skills​ and questions for discussion, basic, but starting spot ○ Are You Empathetic? Checklist​; quick self-assessment activity and conversation starter ○ Teaching Tolerance: ​Teaching Empathy to Middle Schoolers​ lesson plan (25 min) ○ Lesson plan on ​What it Means To Be Part of a Team​ (25 min) ○ 10 Fun Games That Teach Problem Solving​: Any of these 10 activities could be done on a Wednesday morning; they require minimal prep ○ How to behave in class: WikiHow ○ 8
○ Video: ​how to make friends in middle school​ 3 mins ○ Video: r​ esolving disagreements​ (good for motor break!) 2.5 mins ○ Video: t​ aking a break to calm down​ 3 mins, MAY be subscription dependent ○ Video:​ taking turns in conversation​ 2 mins ○ Video: ​compromising​ 3.5 mins ○ Video: ​how to work in a group​ 3.5 mins ○ 101 ​Activities ​that Teach Children Social Skills. All of these could be done on Wednesday morning and some can be shortened for use on the shorter mornings. ○ Gossip is like glitter​ activity that helps teach students empathy ○ The Three Questions Card​: ​Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Helpful? ​ This simple visual can be helpful in starting a discussion to address harmful language towards peers. ○ Kid President: Soul Pancake​ a great collection of uplifting videos. Please sift (not much) to find something useful: ​Guide to being awesome​; ​Pep talk​; ○ Giving compliments​ (scroll just a bit) ○ Questionnaires ​​ need to sign in/create
an account
○ 101 Ways to Teach Social Skills​ is a whole book full of activities that you can
○ This would have to be a purchase, ​Awkward Moment Card Game​:
○ Create a simple Google Form where students “Give a Compliment” to at least 5 of their
fellow Advisees; email the students the compliments they received; end with a share
out of what it feels like to give a compliment and what it feels like to receive the
TOPIC​: Growth Mindset ● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Students will understand that doing challenging work is the best way to make the brain stronger and smarter. ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Students will understand that intelligence can be developed ○ Students will understand that the brain can be malleable ○ Students will have a better understanding of their own strengths and challenges ○ Students will know the differences between​ fixed knowledge and growth mindset ● Resource Bank: ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Acknowledging Your Assets; p. 155 ○ Khan Academy and Stanford University Lesson Plans​, which includes ■ Watch Khan Academy video clips and debrief ■ Personal discussion ■ Write a letter to a future student 9
■ TED Talk Discussion The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Personal Interest Inventory; p. 248 The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Passionate Presenters; p. 249 The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Wall of Fame; p. 249 The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Did you Know?; p. 251 Teacher can read ​THIS ​article for inspiration. Discovery Education ​lesson plan & inventory​ for students to complete to assist in identifying their strengths/challenges. Learning Style Inventory​ activity Lots of different lessons on specific skills like Grit, Optimism, Gratitude etc. at the ​Character Lab Website​. (Developed by Angela Duckworth, who did well known TED talk on Grit) 3 minute video from Carol Dwek on growth mindset: TOPIC​: Peer Relationships ● Broad Learning Goal: To develop communication skills that result in healthy peer relationships. ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Identify the difference between passive, aggressive, and assertive ○ Knowing yourself and your peers ○ Understanding what harassment is and knowing strategies to respond ● Resource Bank: ○ The Three Questions Card​: ​Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Helpful? ​ This simple visual can be helpful in starting a discussion to address harmful language towards peers. ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: This Issue of Respect; p.184-185 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: The Friendship Question; p. 186-187 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Making Things Right; p. 187-188 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Peer Pressure; p.189-191 Handout 12 pg.286 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Drawing a house; p. 191-193 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Win Win Basics; p. 194-196 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Negotiating; p. 196-199 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Group Problem Solving; p. 200-201 Handout 13 pg. 287 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: All About Conflict; p. 203-204 Handout 15 pg. 290 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Questions About Conflict; p. 205 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Managing your Feelings, Moods, and Attitudes; p. 206-209 Handout 16 p. 291 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Assertive, Passive, or Aggressive - What Your Choice; p.210-212 Handout 17a and 17b p. 292 and 293 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Guidelines for Giving Feedback; p. 212-214 Handout 18 p. 294 (THIS HANDOUT WOULD BE GREAT FOR KIDS TO USE WHEN GIVING FEEDBACK TO EACH OTHER) 10
○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Giving and Getting Support; p. 218 Handouts 21a and 21b p. 300-303 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: The Violence Continuum; p. 218 Handout 22 p.304 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Thinking and Talking about Harassment Part 1 p.219-220 Handout 23 pg.305 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Thinking and Talking about Harassment Part 2 p.221 Handout 24 pg.306-307 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Harassment Survey; p. 222 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Countering Harassment and Bullying; p.222 Handouts 25A, 25B, 25C, 25D p. 308-311 TOPIC​: Digital Citizenship ● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Increase knowledge and awareness of what it means to be responsible while on-line. ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Understand what Cyberbullying is. ○ Understand how the choices you make on-line affect you and others. ○ Understand what a digital footprint is. ● Resource Bank: ○ Digital Compass​ - Scenario Game (Interactive Choices) ○ Digital Life 101 ○ Cyberbullying: Be Upstanding ○ My Media
○ Safe On-line Talk ○ Gender Sterotypes Online ○ Which Me Should I be? ○ Trillion Dollar Footprint ○ The Reality of Digital Drama ○ Cyberbullying: Crossing the Line ○ ○ TOPIC​: Transitions ● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Understand the skills and resources necessary for HS ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Knows how to advocate successfully ○ Identify where to find appropriate resources 11
○ Understand and be prepared for transition activities ● Resource Bank: ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: ; Group Problem Solving; p. 200 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Transition; p. 178 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: ; Time/task management; p. 173-174 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: ; Finding Voice; p. 172 ○ TOPIC​: Aspirations ● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Identify personal interests ○ Identify personal strengths ○ Understands a broad range future opportunities- interview adults, brainstorm ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ Understands term “aspirations” ○ Understands how interests connect with intelligences ○ Increases self awareness of interests and motivations ○ Increase awareness of available opportunities ● Resource Bank: ○ Brainstorm: Defining “aspirations”- on whiteboard, list students ideas, discuss why talking about aspirations, timing, purpose of having aspirations. ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Interests; p. 330 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: Aspirations; p. 313 ○ The Advisor Guide​: Activity: ; Aspirations; p. 226 ○​ (Mapping out past and future educational journeys) ○​ Has variety of interest/skill tests to look forward to possible careers. Definitely go through and do before you show students, lots of different activities and options will want to guide students to certain parts first. ○
Lots of different lessons on specific skills like Grit, Optimism, Gratitude etc. at the ​Character Lab Website​. (Developed by Angela Duckworth, who did well known TED talk on Grit) ○ FAME ​“Claim Your Future” Game​ ​Has variety of interest/skill tests to look forward to possible careers. Definitely go through and do before you show students, lots of different activities and options will want to guide students to certain parts first. This quick video (​ ) gives a quick tour of how to use website that is helpful, might even show to students first. T
​ OPIC​: Academic Goal Setting 12
● Broad Learning Goal: ○ Consistent reflection on academic performance and behavior ● Specific Learning Targets: ○ xxx ○ xxx ● Resource Bank: ○ Bring completed sheets to conference for discussion with parents ○
zA ○ 13
Additional Resources: ● Our guidance office contains four crates with reproducible resources on the following topics: ○ Relationships ○ Aspirations ○ Team Building ○ Community Connections ○ Transitions ○ Wellness ○ Middle School Success ○ Diversity ● Educators for Social Responsibility: ​The Advisory Guide​ is a public domain resource. You can find this guide in our library as well. This guide contains “plug and play” ​activities​ and ​handouts​ organized by the following topics: ○ Community-Building, Group Cohesion, and Group Maintenance ○ Orientation, School Citizenship, and School Business ○ Personal Goal Setting, Reflection, and Self-Assessment ○ Tools for School and Learning ○ Life Skills, Health Development, and Self-Care ○ Moving on to High School ○ Real-World Connections and Service Learning ○ Personal Passions, Hobbies, and Interests ○ Rituals, Celebrations, Closure ○ Rainy Day Fun Stuff ● Academic Progress Check-Ins: ○ ● The Association of Middle Level Educators (AMLE) produced a guide about the characteristics of a successful middle school Advisor Group program, ​Creating a Culture of Connectedness through Middle School Advisory Programs​. 14
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