We gradually release responsibility until our leaders are in charge and we step back. Our leaders step up. We teach three major concepts as the leaders learn activities to play with their groups. We teach "Go big!" Not unlike the Saturday Night Live skit called "More Cowbell", we ask each leader to bring their unique personal gift and fill up the stage with it! We teach "Total Support" through Carl Sagan's video The Pale Blue Dot. Our 8th graders learn that we have to rely on each other to solve problems in this world and school and life. We have to be there for each other. Lastly, we teach kids the skill of "Yes, and..." This improvisation skill is the base of comedy. This year, I see much research addressing the importance of "yes, and" in the business world and as an important leadership skill. Essentially, "yes, and" is possibility thinking. We don't say no to 6th graders and their ideas, we say yes. And, we take it one step further. "Yes, and..." has changed my relationships both personally and professionally and I get to share it with thirty-six 8th grade students!
Our students will be trained, call and invite their 6th grade group to our orientation, and lead groups of 8-10 students at orientation and throughout the year. I look forward to this training, and it allows me to watch students grow into great and kind people. This is why I chose my profession and love this program. I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with middle school students and to allow them the opportunity to find their own place and purpose in the world. Thank you to the parents, community and district for allowing me to enjoy my own Spark!