Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peer Mentoring - Woodward's FMP I

Woodward High School Freshmen Mentoring Program (FMP)or a Friendly Meeting Place

This peer/group mentoring model uses upperclassmen to mentor freshmen. Juniors and seniors meet with assigned small groups of freshmen in classrooms each Wednesday for 20 minutes to provide them with information that will help make a more successful transition to high school. Student mentors, who must apply and, if accepted, surrender part of their lunch and serve as role models and guides to high school life all year. 

Topics vary along with some small and large group activities, e.g., pep rallies, being competitive with the upperclassmen, community service, bullying, campus involvement, grades, motivation, and others. In 2013-14, 28 mentors and 14 faculty members focused upon approximately 200 current freshmen.

Lunch Plus Once a week, Wednesday, upperclassmen mentor freshman at the beginning of lunch, which has extra time built in for club meetings and other activities. Two to three upperclassmen and one teacher meet with twenty freshmen to discuss goals, activities, advice, etc., to integrate them into the school. Upperclassmen must apply to be mentors and volunteer to surrender part of their lunch each week. Assigned teachers also surrender part of their lunch time.
Mentor - mentee scavenger hunt

First Four Weeks of Academic Year
During the first four weeks of school, all the freshmen meet weekly in the auditorium with Ms. Anjanette Laverty, the counselor. Highly organized with topics for 200 freshmen, these meetings give Laverty the opportunity to make a connection with the students. 

The first week is an introduction to the school, answering questions, making homecoming decorations with help of the upperclassmen, etc. Also during this four-week period, teachers train the selected upperclassmen, juniors and seniors, to mentor.

At Woodward, the entire freshman class is divided into groups so that each group has a specific classroom and teacher. Specific upper class mentors will also be assigned to each class for the rest of the school year.

Fifth Week - Into the Classroom
For the fifth week, underclassmen receive an invitation to go to a classroom. Once in the assigned classroom mentors teach them about pep rallies, being competitive with sophomores, juniors and seniors, and the school song. Other weeks of the mentoring curriculum focus upon community service, bullying, future goals, honoring the military, positive thinking, and other relevant topics. Group activities are also scheduled, e.g., making and flying paper airplanes. The airplane that goes the farthest gets a cookie party for his/her class. 

Applications and Training
Mentors submit applications at the end of each school year for the next and attend two-three training sessions throughout the year. Teachers volunteer to serve as mentor teacher for the groups as well. 

Assessment, Change,and Quality
The sponsors change or modify the activities each year to improve and provide a quality program.

Excerpts from the FMP Manual

What if? (Questions with answers, e.g., "I lost my ID card?")

List and descriptions of WHS clubs and organizations

Schedule of events with information

  • Session I - Introductions, "What if?", and football homecoming
Begin to learn names!
  • Session II - Boomer Olympics (group activity)
Greet group members. In the spirit of homecoming, each group needs to come up with 
three games to play with their group. 'Tug-of-war, ball tosses, etc. Ask another group to 
participate in friendly competition. Bring needed game items.
  • Session III - Exemption policy/importance of good grades/clubs and involvement
  • Session IV - Motivational video 
Ashton Kucher (speech at Teen Choice Awards)

Activity to find and discuss three lessons from it
  • Session V - Bucket lists - plans/dreams for the future
Have each freshman create a list of things he or she would like to achieve in life.

Have individuals share at lest one of their items and discuss.
  • Session VI - Honoring members of our military
Using the teacher's Smart Board, play the video about the dedication of our service members.  (This Toby Keith video from 2010 was used, but YouTube has many incredible videos about our military.)

Discuss the video. Include how important service is, if anyone is thinking about joining the military, if anyone has a family member or friend currently serving or having recently served, etc.

Letter writing and collecting items to be sent to service men and women on Nov. 6th 
  • Session VII - Group competition - scavenger hunt challenge 
  • Session VIII - Letters to our troops and begin collection of items to send
  • Session IX - The Power of Positive Thinking

Power of positive thinking exercise- 

Tie a paperclip to the end of a string.

Hold it in front of the group. 

Have students think silently left, right, left, right as they watch the paper clip. 

The clip should start to sway back and forth. 

Use this to discuss the power of positive thinking and how having a positive attitude toward things can change our lives. 

Look up quotes to share and/or provide everyone with a paperclip as a reminder to hold on to positive thoughts.
  • Session X - Review study skills and plan for Christmas Door Decoration 
Discuss test-taking skills. 

Share ways you study that would be helpful. (resource section)
Review rules for the FMP Christmas Door Decorating Contest and begin planning (resource section). 

Next week have items for the contest. You can ask freshmen to bring items.
  • Session XI - Door decorations
Make sure everyone has a part in the plan and decorating.

Points will be given for including everyone in the decorating.
  • Session 13 - Christmas fun - greetings, games, singing, etc. 

Thanks to Woodward High School's Anjanette Laverty, counselor, and Tacy Hurst, English teacher, for sharing in December 2013.

More in the next post!

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