Reflecting Like Clint Eastwood


The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

As a main goal of advisory is to build relationships (between students and with students), I used to spend at least one part of one advisory per week “checking in” with them.  And doing this, I came up with a myriad of ways to check in with students.

First, I went minimalist:

  • “How are you doing?”
  • “What do you mean?”
  • “I mean, how are you?”
  • Quizzical looks, after contemptuous eye rolling.

Ok, so that didn’t work well… (The Ugly)

Perseverance… I tried other techniques.

“Everybody pick a number between 1 and 10 – 10 being the best and select how you feel about this week.”

That was better.  (Bad?) We even had conversations about what a 5 meant to different people – which led to conversations about optimism and pessimism.  I also had an interested student track our responses and create a chart and graph and present out his findings at advisory. That was fun…

When I was reaching, I borrowed from psychologist and tried a mood cube (take a piece of paper, cut and fold into a cube, color each side a different color and ascribe it different meaning.  Red = angry mood, yellow = content, orange = sunny, brown…dim, etc). This had mixed results.  Luckily no one had seen “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” yet.

With each of these, I varied the formats:

  • Written, oral, art/kinesthetic (ok, i didn’t do intepretive dance)
  • solo, pair, small group, full advisory
  • sitting in advisory circle, walk and talk,
  • inside, outside (not underwater or skydiving…)
  • just our advisory, gender groups, paired with other advisories.

I guess I felt like we had to keep making it new and exciting.

One of the debrief activities I liked the best was the Clint Eastwood reflection.  It doesn’t require a poncho (though it coudn’t hurt), and you don’t need to squint (though that doesn’t hurt either).  I would just ask students to journal as a quickwrite the “Good the Bad, and the Ugly of that week”. Depending on time, I might have people share out one of the categories in a group or discuss them all with a partner, or just turn them in. Sometimes we tallied up which of the three categories was the strongest for that person that week and took the Clint Eastwood temp of our advisory (10 of 15 were good this week, 5 Uglies).  How narrow was out collective squint (by the way, I own the rights to Collective Squint as a band name.)…

This was “the good”

Anyway, those are a few of my check-in reflections.  Any great ideas out there to share?


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