Making the Rounds during Advisory

One More Early Dismissal Day!

Wednesday, December 9  (K-8)
(12:40 Dismissal – Lunch will be served)

Making the Rounds during Advisory

Eight years ago, as part of our work to create a more cohesive middle school and to attend to the social-emotional learning of our early adolescents, we developed an advisory program.   The program has evolved over the years – beginning with training of staff in Developmental Designs, a social emotional learning program (the middle school “cousin” of Responsive Classroom used in K-5) and later incorporating the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  In subsequent years, teachers worked together to develop a sequence of lessons for grades 6-8 to avoid duplication of topics and keep the program fresh.

Last Monday, I made the rounds to several classes during advisory. Here are some quick snapshots of what I observed:

Grade 6 CARES:  Developmental Designs uses the acronym CARES to stand for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy and Self- Control. In one class, students had worked in groups to create posters depicting what each of the elements meant to them. In another class, students were engaged in discussing ways to exercise self-control when feeling angry.

Grade 7 Manages Impulsivity:  Seventh graders were having some fun in advisory.  Greetings are an important part of class meetings – not just in our younger grades. Middle school students are still playful. On this mornings, students laughed and warmly greeted one another while performing a “snake” greeting that required each student to loop around a circle while greeting each classmate.  Following a discussion of “managing impulsivity,” students played some games to practice using this habit of mind.

Grade 8 Discusses Rights and Responsibilities:  All three eighth grade advisories engaged in a more serious discussion of rights and responsibilities –what they look like at Lawrence – and in the world outside of school.   It was great to hear their emerging thinking on the topic (and, later in the week, to see 32 eighth graders take responsibility to chaperone our K-2 students at Early Release Movie Day).

I came away from my brief visits impressed with the way our program has evolved over the past several years.   Kudos to our middle school teachers for the time and attention they devote to providing a supportive community and promoting social emotional learning for our students.

For more information on Advisory and Developmental Designs, go to our website:

Rick Rogers

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