Learn, Lead, Succeed!

Content, Themes, Format

Activities and Projects

When considering the activities and projects that should be included as a part of the advisory program, consider the developed goals and student outcomes desired from the advisory program. The "curricula," if you will, should give rise to the content and types of the activities and projects. Volumes of activities can fill time, but do the activities and projects align with the goals for each grade level?

Activities and goals should build incrementally to use important stated goals. Appreciate that the activities and projects must adhere to the time structures in place, also.

Routines and Formats

  • Within time structures and goals
  • Significant time allotment: projects, class meetings, interactive exercises
  • Limited time allotment: pair/shares, personal conferencing

Expected Learning Outcomes

“Students will do ____, and they will learn ___”

  • Identifying outcomes will influence what formats are used, how long a given topic will last, what projects and tasks are involved, etc.
  • For example: Topic = Substance Abuse
  • What is the expected outcome? Awareness of risks? OR Change in behavior?
  • Awareness = readings, speakers, brief discussions

Change in behavior = awareness activities + skill lessons, reflections, practice, and coaching

Other examples:

    • Topic = Adjusting to school, making a successful transition
      • How to find their way physically through the building
        • Maps, tours, scavenger hunts, assigned buddies
      • How to find their way to various resources
        • Upper-class students describe clubs and teams, group introductions to administrators, counselors, technology and media staff
      • Awkward situations in first few months
        • Cafeteria, auditorium, parent nights, auditions and tryouts
        • Rehearse, offer encouragement
      • Understanding expectations, support systems, rules and consequences of the new grade level?
        • Introduce all students to new responsibilities and standards helps to level the playing field
  • Topic = Community building, group maintenance, promoting positive school climate
    • Helping advisees know each other
    • Fun and quick get-to-know-you activities
    • Longer interviews and discussions
    • Extended studies of who they are, where they live, what their preferences and heritages are
    • Advisory demographic study
    • Advisees feel safe
    • Establish guidelines or group agreements
    • Discussions of what appropriate and/or inappropriate looks like and sounds like
    • Effects of sarcasm and teasing
    • Improve skills for participating in a group
    • Time limits to avoid monopolizing
    • Go arounds to avoid opting out
    • Pairs to practice speaking before in front of group
    • Listening more carefully
    • Create a sense of ownership of the school and encourage a positive school climate
    • Improving conditions in common spaces
    • Identify issues for student government to undertake
    • Participate as a group in school-wide efforts
  • Topic = Academic Advising and Coaching
    • How to monitor, support and influence student achievement?
    • Need for initial and ongoing data
    • Support with tips for studying, managing stress, finding resources
    • Can establish homework buddies as proactive tool
    • Student-Led conferencing
    • Students have goals set for themselves—monitor, and reflect on accomplishment

Routines and Formats

  • To build a sense of community and make advisory out of the routine for the day
  • Activity formats handout
  • Practice at various skills
  • Morning goal setting; end of the day reflections; activity debriefings; listening labs
  • Allow for advisee practice and peer and mentor coaching
  • Food or no food?
  • Rotate responsibility for snacks
  • No food if you’re concerned about distracting students from focus
  • Encourage group cohesion…


  • Career exploration, community study, peer teaching
  • Creates identity for advisory
  • Must work hard to not have advisory become study hall or social time
  • Group discussion
  • Small-group check in
  • Group projects
  • Preparation for holiday, for school event, for an ill classmate
  • Decorating part of the school
  • Out-of-school environmental project
  • Service project
  • Journal writing
  • Handling group closure

Other Focus Areas

  • Learning to have participatory voice, practicing democracy, talking about local or global issues
  • Self and community—conducting interviews, discussing one’s relationship to a large group, giving service
  • Sense of self as an adolescent—considering images from music, ads, interviews, self-reflections, reading and discussion of adolescent challenges
  • Conflict, cooperation, and communication skills
  • Goal-setting, overcoming obstacles, study skills, time management
  • Teaching each other crafts
    • Found out they had skills to teach each other
    • They got practice in giving encouragement and feedback
    • Discussed personal concerns in a calmer and more reflective manner