This last Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of returning to La Canada High School to teach the 7th Grade students. With 10 classes of kids, it takes me two days to see the whole group, but it was great to see how they are all doing now that they have transitioned from elementary school to middle school. I also enjoyed seeing Mrs. Werner again and meeting Ms. Yu for the first time.
After reintroducing myself and the STAR Program, I started the day by passing out this year’s materials: a STAR folder, a name card, a pencil and an eraser. As I passed everything out, I talked to the students about what we covered in the STAR Program in the 5th and 6th grades, and I talked about what types of lessons are coming during 7th grade.
Next I spent a little time talking to the kids about goal setting and decision making. Most of students I teach already have a list of accomplishments and have set their sights on the future, but it never hurts to remind them about the importance of setting goals and working towards them. We talked about why goals should be Personal (or important to them), Possible and Specific, and then we talked about the steps to creating a goal:
- Name your goal. (write it down or tell someone)
- Visualize achieving the goal.
- Come up with a plan. (Think about it)
- Take action. (Like Nike says: Just Do It.)
- Assess how you did and make adjustments if necessary.
I also talked to the kids about making good decisions. Its important to remember that our brains don’t fully develop until our 20’s. Teenagers are absolutely capable of making good decisions, but they need to understand that their natural tendency may be to act first and think later. The teenage gas pedal works terrific, but the brake pedal is still being developed. With that in mind, I reminded them of the STAR model for making good decisions:
- Stop – whatever the situation, and take a moment to …
- Think – about your options, before you …
- Act – on your best plan, and then
- Reflect – on how you did, so you know what to do nextime.
In the time we had remaining, I had them complete the Time Capsule activity. Each student writes down a list of their favorite things on a worksheet I hand out, and then they fold and staple it shut until the end of the year. When the students open the capsules in the spring, they see how much their preferences change even over just a few months. At this point in their lives, everything is changing all the time for these kids; their bodies, minds and abilities are all still developing at a crazy rate. They might feel awkward or clumsy because of it, but the good news is that all of their peers feel the same way too (although they might not admit it to each other).
It was a great couple days at LCHS, and I look forward to my next visit.