WhyTry Training Consultant Bruce Bushnell answers:
Here are ten ideas that helped when I was teaching WhyTry as a school counselor:
1. Passion, purpose, interest
Using WhyTry’s Motivation Formula as a reference point, give your students an opportunity to share their passion with the rest of the class. This could be through a PowerPoint, a video, a collage, a performance, or any other demonstration of the student’s choice. A young man in one of my WhyTry classes loved skateboarding, and his “passion” presentation was demonstrating a new move he’d been working on.
2. Pick a visual metaphor
Divide the students into teams and give each team one of the ten WhyTry visual metaphors to focus on. Each group will create a presentation about that metaphor and discuss how they have applied it in their lives throughout the semester.
3. Be a producer
Allow your students to be producers. Have them write a song about something they’ve learned in WhyTry and create a music video performing it. They could also use one of the WhyTry hip-hop songs or another song that relates to principles in the program. This is a fun way for them to get creative while learning other skills, such as filming, editing, and posting videos to YouTube.
4. Pay it forward
Either individually or as a group, have your students plan and implement a service project to “pay it forward” to the community. As a group, my students planned a project for the Forest Service, planting trees in designated areas. Another time, when the semester ended in December, the students decided to provide Christmas for families in need. One of the most impactful projects was the time the students made “quiet books” for children living in a local domestic violence center. They delivered them personally and spent time playing with the children. Many of the students loved the experience so much that they returned to the center to volunteer again.
Have the students invite a member of the community they admire to come and speak at an assembly they plan.
6. Field trip
Field trips are a great way to help students walk away from your class with important life lessons. After learning the “Reality Ride” – specifically how every choice we make has a consequence – I took my students on a tour of the local jail. It really opened the students’ eyes to the reality of the things they’d just been taught in the classroom.
7. Career goals
Have students do a presentation to the class about their plans after high school. They could present on a post-high school career or college goals that will lead them to their dream career.
8. Be a reporter
Let your students be reporters. Have them interview and write the story of someone who has turned something hard in life into something positive. You could have the students write an article about their experience or share the person’s story with the class.
9. What’s been meaningful?
Students may gain the most in a final project from being allowed to write or draw about the thing that’s been most meaningful or helped them the most as they’ve gone through the WhyTry class. This can also help you, as a teacher, know which portions of the program have been most impactful to your students. Don’t forget to take advantage of WhyTry’s free student satisfaction survey to get the details on what worked and what didn’t.
10. Let them choose
It’s empowering for students when they’re given a choice of four, five, or six different things they could do for their WhyTry final project. You can select some of the options above or create some of your own. This allows students to complete a project that will benefit them most.
Bruce Bushnell is a WhyTry trainer, former school counselor, and creator of several of the WhyTry learning activities. For more ideas on projects and activities to do with your students, contact us at 866.949.8791.