All Summer in a Day

“A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.  And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the schoolroom of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.”

“All Summer in a Day” is one of my favorite short stories that I had a chance to teach recently.  It is short (less than four pages), has 9 years olds as the central characters, creates vivid characters and a poignant scene, and a deals with issues of group membership, how groups deal with difference, prejudice, and bullying. The characters, setting and theme create an safe topic for conversations of behaviors that may be common to students.


  • Have students do a quickwrite activity framed in the discussion you want to explore: (This one is to look at how groups treat difference.) “Have you ever been in the company of a group of which you were clearly not a member?  What was the circumstance?  How did you act?  How were you treated?”  Pair share, then report out.
  • Read aloud with students – check for understanding and have students pick out words they are not familiar with.
  • There are many activities to do with this story (and a few guiding sheets in the resources section).  One interesting discussion might be to have students discuss who should be held responsible for Margot’s treatment and then discuss what those people might have chosen to do which would have led to a positive outcome.



Would You Rather


So, it’s friday. Lots of things to possibly do for advisory, but then it may be tense in school – getting near exhibitions, nearing the end of the month, the end of a long week.  Maybe it’s time for a fun discussion activity that can help people (as a by product) get to know each other better at a deep level.

One fun game to play in the group is “Would you rather”.  Just give people a choice between two opposite extremes and force a choice? What does this say about you that you made this choice?

The key, as in all discussion activities, is to stoke people to discuss the “why” behind their choice, play with the ideas and have people talk about examples.

Here are some questions you could ask (you can create lots more! – if you have some good ones, put them in the comments!)

Would you rather:

  • Be 4’1″ or 7’5″
  • loose your sight or loose your hearing
  • Save a sibling or a stranger from a fire
  • Meet an alien visitor or travel to outer space
  • Eat Sushi or Liver
  • Spend the day at the computer or at the beach
  • End Hunger or Hatred
  • Always lose or never play
  • Read everyone’s mind or know their future
  • Be forced to tell your friend a lie or tell your parents the truth
  • Have the power to fly or be invisible
  • Overthrow a dictator or be one
  • Be an actor or actress in big movie or be the director
  • Be remembered for doing good or being rich
  • Have a missing finger or an extra toe
  • Be forgotten or hatefully remembered
  • Talk to a friend or read a book
  • Get the last laugh or get first dibs
  • Be the sand castle or the wave
  • Find True love or 10 Million Dollars
  • Kiss a jellyfish or step on a crab
  • Give bad advice or take bad advice
  • Publish your diary or make a movie of your most embarrassing moment
  • Live without music or tv
  • Be gossiped about or never talked about at all


Also – have students write their own “Would you Rather questions – keep a running list for the year.” Turn it into a survey and have one student track the answers and cart them – maybe take them across advisories.  Let it ride!


Perceptions of Beauty

What is your definition of beauty? Give examples of what you mean.

Sometimes the best advisory conversations come from these basic questions which explore

Have students journal an answer or do a think, pair, share with a partner about the question above.

During the share out, write different definitions on the board.  Encourage students to think about similarities and difference.  Ask them to consider the origins of thier definitions of beauty.  Where does this come from?  Is it innate?  is it learned? If it is learned, learned from where?

After the discussion naturally stalls, watch this video with the advisory and ask them to think about the implications of it:

Response Questions:

  1. What is your initial response to seeing this video?
  2. What are some of the messages of this video about images of beauty in our culture? Give examples to support your observation.  Do you agree or disagree with these messages?
  3. Who is the audience for this piece?
  4. Does this short video create any questions in your mind?  What are they?
  5. How might current media images effect out perceptions of ourselves and others?  Give specific examples.