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Shifting to a Strength-Based Culture in Schools

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If the keynote session focused on WHY we need to shift our lens to a strength-based approach in schools, this breakout session will focus on the HOW and WHAT of this shift. The following topics will be discussed:
- how to determine the strengths of our students and staff
ideas to move to a strength-based model in schools
- ways to honour and recognize the strengths of our students
moving from MY students to OUR students
- school-wide activities that build on the strengths of students and staff
- providing opportunities for collaboration and leadership in areas of strength
The session is designed for educators that want to create change beyond their classroom walls; participants will walk away with practical ideas that can start an immediate shift to a strength-based culture in their school.

Published in: Education
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Shifting to a Strength-Based Culture in Schools

  1. 1. Shifting to a Strengths-Based Culture in Schools Fort Nelson School District February 26, 2015 Chris Wejr www.chriswejr.com @chriswejr
  2. 2. What brings YOU here today? What is your question?
  3. 3. Learning Intentions • I can devise a method to determine the strengths of our students and staff • I can share ideas to move to a strength- based model in schools (including ways to honour all our students) • I can describe some school-wide activities that build on the strengths of students and staff • I can share ideas on creating opportunities for staff collaboration and leadership in areas of strength
  4. 4. Stories Strengths Interests Confidence Meaning SEL Engagement
  5. 5. Think of a time when a teacher/coach/boss/mentor acknowledged a strength of yours. Share your story. How did this feel? Reflect individually and then share with a partner
  6. 6. Bring out the strengths! Sir Ken Robinson and Aimee Mullins http://youtu.be/dTwXeZ4GkzIhttp://youtu.be/iG9CE55wbtY
  7. 7. “But the other side is unbaked. The side of strengths, the side of what we are good at, the side…of what makes life worth living.” Dr. Martin Seligman “Psychology is half-baked, literally half-baked. We have baked the part about mental illness. We have baked the part about repair and damage…” Image from Pixgood
  8. 8. The way we help others… is changing.
  9. 9. PAIRED VERBAL FLUENCY 60s each person I think focusing on the strengths of our students is important because…
  10. 10. Determining the Strengths Who are we?
  11. 11. Who are the students? (Leyton Schnellert, 2011 via Pat Mirenda) Who am I? Words that describe me: My hopes and dreams for myself: My favourite books/stories: Things I’d like you to know about me Things I like to do when I am alone: Things I am good at or interested in: Things I like to do with my friends: Things I like to do with my family: The easiest way for me to show what I know is: Things I would like to get better at in this class are: THIS IS ME!
  12. 12. Create an “About Me” Project
  13. 13. Blog: http://bit.ly/NrekwQ
  14. 14. See Our Strengths - Identity Day http://youtu.be/XRFYlbJvhbI
  15. 15. A Focus on Deficits? Reflect and Share There are some traditions and structures set up in our school systems that, although intended to help, seem to highlight the deficits in our students. Please reflect individually upon some of the current practices in our schools that point to the deficits in our students. Record and then share to your table.
  16. 16. It is not always about overcoming a perceived deficit. It is often about embracing a lesser-known STRENGTH. CC image from Mystery.Indigo Photography https://flic.kr/p/8Z5PqW
  17. 17. Differences are NOT deficiencies Simon Ibell
  18. 18. Strength in Everyone The Butterfly Circus From http://youtu.be/BVWZrjN_23c
  19. 19. Elevator Pitch You are in an elevator and someone asks you: Why should we move to strengths-based education? Respond in the time it takes to go from the bottom floor to the top floor.
  20. 20. A School Built on Strengths My students to OUR Students
  21. 21. Winnersand Losers? Rethink how we honour cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by lee: http://flickr.com/photos/leecullivan/3948336553/
  22. 22. From Awarding One to Honouring ALL
  23. 23. Celebration of Learning
  24. 24. ENGAGEMENT through strengths and interests
  25. 25. CHOICES Passion Projects Innovation Days Inquiry Project-Based Learning Genius Hour Outdoor Education Blended Learning
  26. 26. Teaching Through Strengths and Interests
  27. 27. Inquiry Fair at West Langley Photo via Shawn Davids
  28. 28. Innovation Day Photo from Josh Stumpenhorst
  29. 29. Inquiry "When there is space for kids to create, connect, explore - magic happens” Neil Stephenson CC Image by Linus Bohman https://flic.kr/p/grtNE
  30. 30. “Wonder Wall” via Kathy Rice
  31. 31. Project-Based Learning CC Image by Judy Baxter https://flic.kr/p/dGFj5
  32. 32. Passion Projects @_MrsBarb
  33. 33. Middle Earth 12 – Glen Thielmann middleearth12.blogspot.ca CC Image from James Losey https://flic.kr/p/nhJsAA
  34. 34. Learning With Strengths – Comox Valley image via BCPVPA http://bit.ly/1LFZQmi
  35. 35. IDEA FACTORY What can we DO – next week, next month, next year - in classrooms/schools to better focus on the strengths of our students? Brainstorm at your table Categorize into classroom and school Record and Share
  36. 36. Strengths of our Staff
  37. 37. FedEx Prep: Time for Innovation cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Toni Verdú Carbó: http://flickr.com/photos/tonivc/2283676770/
  38. 38. Creating Time for Teachers to Build on Their Strengths
  39. 39. School/District Edcamp What is ordinary to you… may be extraordinary to others.
  40. 40. Looking back at your questions…
  41. 41. To start with the strengths of our students and change their stories, we need to: STOP doing doing START doing
  42. 42. Swap Meet Grab an index card. Write one of the following statements and complete the thought on the card: • One thing I am going to do in my classroom/school is… • One thing I want to be sure to remember is… When you are finished, walk around the room and meet with someone you have not spoken to today. Share the information on your cards and then exchange cards. Do this 2 more times. Return to your table and share the information on the new card with your group.
  43. 43. Create the conditions. Be designers of learning. Neil Stephenson CC Image by Frank Wuestefeld https://flic.kr/p/7yvVKy
  44. 44. Start with one CC Image from Felix Meyer https://flic.kr/p/9neEhp
  45. 45. Connect With Me www.chriswejr.com About.me/ChrisWejr @chriswejr chriswejr@gmail.com

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