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What makes your students light up? Some students love playing soccer, while some students love painting. Other students are most engaged while quietly reading—or solving math problems. As a teacher, you know how motivating it can be for students to discover their “sparks,” those activities and interests that truly engage them to be their best. Discovering those sparks can help students express their personalities and make unique contributions to the world.

b Academic self-efficacy: “I can do it!” b Engagement in learning: “I like doing it!” b Bonding to school: “School is a good place for me!” b Mastery: “It’s important for me to do well in school!”

b Instructions that guide students to create Spark.A.Vision videos about who they hope to be in the world b Lesson plans for students in grades three and four b Lesson plans for students in grades five and six b Reproducible materials, available as downloads, so students can explore their interests b Numerous resources including recommendations for best practices, a video discussion guide, and sample letters to send home with students b Research articles related to sparks, the Developmental Assets®, and Tel.A.Vision (the parent software for Spark.A.Vision) Igniting Sparks was developed by a team of researchers and writers at Search Institute® and based on the work of the late Dr. Peter L. Benson. Dr. Benson, former president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Search Institute, was one of the world’s leading authorities on positive human development. He was the author or editor of more than a dozen books on child and adolescent development and social change.

IGNITING

Sparks Connecting Students’ Interests and Talents to Classroom Success

Instructor Guide IGNITING SPARKS

This instructor guide will help you work with students to explore their sparks, find adult support for developing their interests, and ultimately create a vision of who they want to be in the future. As a result of this spark work, teachers often see student improvement in the following areas:

This guide includes the following information:

Instructor Guide, Grades 3–6

E D U C AT I O N / C u r r i c u l a

Grades 3 through 6

Search Institute


Igniting Sparks Connecting Students’ Interests and Talents to Classroom Success Se a rch I n s tit u t e

Instructor Guide Grades Three through Six


Igniting Sparks Connecting Students’ Interests and Talents to Classroom Success Instructor Guide, Grades Three through Six The following are registered trademarks of Search Institute: Search Institute®, Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth®, and Developmental Assets®. Search Institute Press, Minneapolis, MN Copyright © 2009, 2012 by Search Institute All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced in any manner, mechanical or electronic, without prior permission from the publisher except in brief quotations or summaries in articles or reviews, or as individual activity sheets for educational non-commercial use only. For additional permission, visit Search Institute’s website at www.search-institute .org/permissions and submit a Permissions Request Form. At the time of publication, all facts and figures cited herein are the most current available; all telephone numbers, addresses, and website URLs are accurate and active; all publications, organizations, websites, and other resources exist as described in this book; and all efforts have been made to verify them. The authors and Search Institute make no warranty or guarantee concerning the information and materials given out by organizations or content found at websites that are cited herein, and we are not responsible for any changes that occur after this book’s publication. If you find an error or believe that a resource listed herein is not as described, please contact Client Services at Search Institute. Printed on acid-free paper in the United States of America. Search Institute 615 First Avenue Northeast, Suite 125 Minneapolis, MN 55413 www.search-institute.org 612-376-8955 • 877-240-7251, ext. 1 ISBN-13: 978-1-57482-533-6

Credits Editing: Rebecca Post Book Design: Mighty Media Production Supervisor: Mary Ellen Buscher Library of Congress Cataloging-inPublication Data <CIP copy to come from production coordinator> The educational activity sheets in Igniting Sparks may be copied as needed. For each copy, please respect the following guidelines: • Do not remove, alter, or obscure the Search Institute credit and copyright information on any activity sheet. • Clearly differentiate any material you add for local distribution from material prepared by Search Institute. • Do not alter the Search Institute material in content or meaning.


Contents Introduction

1

Lesson Plans for Grades Three and Four

Lesson Plan 1

9

Lesson Plan 2

15

Lesson Plan 3

25

Lesson Plan 4

32

Lesson Plan 5

41

Lesson Plan 6

42

Lesson Plans for Grades Five and Six

Lesson Plan 1

49

Lesson Plan 2

62

Lesson Plan 3

64

Lesson Plan 4

67

Lesson Plan 5

76

Lesson Plan 6

77

Resources

Best Practice Tips for Elementary School Settings 81

Links to Inspiring Videos and Websites

82

Igniting Sparks: Video Discussion Guide

83

Parent Communication Templates

85

Research

Insights & Evidence: Finding the Student Spark

99

What Are the Developmental Assets?

113

Telâ&#x20AC;˘Aâ&#x20AC;˘Vision

115


Introduction With all the new technology—the Internet, smart phones, texting, e-mail, social media—you would think modern relationships would be closer, that we’d all know more about each other’s unique personalities, interests, and passions. Educators, of course, know that technology cannot replace a student’s need for genuine concern and understanding. Search Institute research shows that only 35 percent of young people say they feel connected with caring adults at school who know them and their interests well. Students report that adults in their schools, congregations, and youth organizations don’t know them either. Unfortunately, in this age of more “connection,” our young people can feel more disconnected than ever, especially from caring adults. It doesn’t have to be this way. As a teacher, you already know the value of building positive relationships with your students. This relationship-building effort also applies to parents, mentors, and neighbors. By initiating meaningful conversations with young people, we can help students discover their “sparks”—the activities and interests that truly engage their passion to be their best. Search Institute has long pioneered research and programming directed at improving the relationships between children and adults. The late Peter Benson wrote that “relationships are the oxygen for human development.” He and his research colleagues identified the building blocks that help children succeed. Those building blocks were named the Developmental Assets®, and researchers have found that the more assets students have, the more likely they are to act in positive ways, like helping others, succeeding in school, and showing leadership skills. More information about the Development Assets and sparks can also be found in the research section of this manual on page 113.

Finding a Spark A student’s spark is what he or she is really passionate about, an activity that unleashes his or her energy and joy. Discovering that spark can help a student express his or her personality and make a unique contribution to the world. Each of us has at least one spark. For most of us, our spark is revealed or discovered over time, through many opportunities and experiences, and we often need caring adults to help us see and develop it. Take a look at the following list of the top ten spark categories named by American teenagers ages 12–17. (The percentages add up to more than 100 percent because teens, on average, report 1.4 sparks.) • Creative arts (painting, writing, dance, music, acting), 54 percent • Athletics, 25 percent

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• Learning a subject matter (like science or history), 18 percent • Reading, 11 percent • Helping, serving, volunteering, 10 percent • Being a leader, 10 percent • Caring or advocating for animals, or protecting endangered species, 8 percent • Living in a specific way (with joy, caring, tolerance, compassion), 7 percent • Nature, ecology, environment, 6 percent • Spirituality or religion, 2 percent

Why Do Sparks Matter? When young people know and develop a spark, with the support of several adults, they present a strong picture of health and well-being. Research shows that students who have opportunities to identify and nurture their sparks: • Have higher grades in school • Have better school attendance • Are more likely to be socially competent • Are more likely to be physically healthy • Are more likely to volunteer to help other people • Are more likely to care about the environment • Are more likely to have a sense of purpose • Are less likely to experience depression • Are less likely to engage in acts of violence National surveys found that 48 percent of young people knew their spark, but only 37 percent could both name a spark and claim the adult support they need to develop it.

Getting Started Three simple steps can help you start your spark work with a young person. First, spend time discreetly looking for clues to your students’ sparks. Because you are an educator, you already have a sense of what your students enjoy. Nevertheless, try looking at your students with fresh eyes. As you look at each student, ask yourself: When does this student seem the happiest? While doing independent work or while doing group work? When is this student most absorbed in an activity? Which subjects seem to most engage this student? After you have observed and begun to notice more about your students’ interests, passions, and how they spend their time, you can start a spark conversation. What you are after is having talks that help them discover their own abilities and possibilities, talks that empower them to try new things and take next steps.

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Finally, find a way to follow through with what you find out. If you have students who love motorcycles, maybe you know a colleague who has been riding motor­ cycles for years and can somehow bring that interest into your classroom. If you have students who love music, bring a musician into your classroom to engage students in whatever you happen to be studying. As a teacher, you are likely already doing these things; the point is to take your efforts another step. Working with students to discover and develop their sparks can result in numerous benefits for young people. When caring adults put their energy into young people’s sparks, they make a great contribution to their development. Author Peter Benson wrote in his book Sparks: How Parents Can Help Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teens, “When young people find their spark and their center, their lives become generous, committed, passionate, purposeful, and responsible.” Surely that is what all educators want for each student. This curriculum includes information on how to use Spark.A.Vision, an innovative Internet-based tool that allows students to create videos about who they hope to be as they grow and develop into young adults. This curriculum also includes classroom posters that can be displayed when you begin to introduce students to the concepts of sparks. The stickers are for younger students as they work through the lessons. Likewise, the wristbands can be handed out to students to remind them to think about their sparks. Each Igniting Sparks kit also includes a copy of Spark Student Motivation by Jolene L. Roehlkepartain. This guide includes 101 activities that help students build relationships with one another, tap into their unique learning style, and recognize their sparks. Most of these activities can be adapted to fit students of any age. After you have completed all the lesson plans, you can bring activities from Spark Student Motivation into you classroom to reinforce students’ unique interests and means of staying motivated.

Going Beyond the Lessons There are many possibilities for continuing, expanding, or deepening your students’ understanding of sparks. Here are just a few ideas: Connect students’ sparks to your curriculum and to your efforts in differentiating instruction. For example, a student whose spark is math could: • Read a biography of a famous mathematician • Study the history of math’s development in Egypt and elsewhere • Use proportions, ratios, and patterns in creating artwork • Seek uses of mathematics in a daily newspaper or a magazine • Explore the use of math in music • Create polls and resulting statistics for the school newspaper or yearbook

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Consider joining with your students in doing each of the activities; you’ll be modeling that people can explore, name, and develop sparks at any time during their lives. Touch back at various times in your classroom on spark exploration and spark guides. Remind students that these can be ongoing activities that help them get the most out of school, out of life, and out of their potential. Have students repeat an activity when they discover or explore different sparks. Work with a school librarian to create a display of biographies and autobiographies that highlight a person’s spark; be sure to cover both common and unusual spark clusters. Offer students the option of bringing home to their parents a Sparks Interview that you or they create, then look for connections between students’ and parents’ sparks. (One student’s parent could become another student’s spark supporter!) Help students bring their positive visions down to earth by guiding them in creating a set of goals to reach and steps on the way. Talk to your colleagues about their sparks. Are there any matches with the sparks of students in your class or classes? Consider having an event in which staff and students gather by spark categories they favor to discover possible great connections, new clubs needed at the school, and so forth. Finally, remind students to frequently watch the Spark.A.Vision videos that they create. Research shows that repetition can “train the brain” and keep students motivated in reaching their goals. This manual includes the following information: • Lesson plans that are appropriate for grades three and four (pages 7–42) • Lesson plans that are appropriate for grades five and six (pages 45–76) • Reproducible sheets so each student can begin to document his or her interests, including instructions so students can develop their Spark.A.Vision videos. These handouts are available as downloads at www.search-institute .org/oc/ispark. • A resource section that includes recommendations for best practices, a video discussion guide, and parent communication pieces (see pages 79–93) • A research section about sparks, the Developmental Assets, and Tel.A.Vision (the “parent” software that Spark.A.Vision is based on) (see pages 97–119) In addition, visit www.search-institute.org/sparks to find resources that include online videos for students and parents, reproducible student materials, parent communication templates, and information about Spark.A.Vision.

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Grades Three and Four: Lesson Plan 1

What Is7a7Spark? 7777 777 7 7777777777 777777777777 7777777777 77777 77 O b j7 ec t7 i v e s77777 7777777777 7777777777 7777bb777777 777777777777 7777b777777 777777777777 7777777777 777777777777 7777777777 77777 77 M a7 t e r7 i a l7 s 7777777777 7777 7777777777 7777bb777777 777777777777 7777b777777 777777777777 7777777777 b 77777 77 7777777777 b 7777777 77777 b 777 7777777777 b 7777 77777 b 7777777 7777777777 7777777777 7777777777 777777777777 7777777777 77 7777777777 7 7777777777 Before the Lesson 7777 7777777777 7777777 7777777777 7 7777777777 7777777777 7 7777777777 7777777777 7 7777777777 7777777777 7 7777777777 7777777777 7 7777777777 7777777777 777777777 Students will learn what sparks are and will:

Understand that every person can have one or more sparks

See that there are many different kinds of sparks and that all sparks are good; none are better than others Understand that it is useful to know and find ways to explore their sparks, and that their sparks will probably change as they get older

You will need the following:

Sparks posters (display these before students enter the classroom)

My Spark Is stickers (to hand out at the end of class—or during class, depending on your preference) My Spark Is sheets (or paper and scissors to create candle-flame shapes) Spark wordfind sheets

Markers, colored pencils, glitter glue (or glitter and glue) Poster board

Children’s book: Strong to the Hoop by John Coy, illustrated Leslie Jean-Bart Projector screen or electronic whiteboard to show sparks videos

Suggestions for other books to use are noted after this first activity. Or choose a different book that illustrates a character who discovers his or her spark.

Working on sparks with your students will help them see school as a place where they belong, a place where people know their sparks and help to explore and develop them, and a place where learning is fun. This lesson contains several activities. You can do all the activities or choose

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the activities that fit best with your time requirements. Visit www.search-institute .org/sparks before the lesson to review the student video on what sparks are. You can show this video to your students. Also review the Spark.A.Vision sample videos and choose which ones you would like your students to review.

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Activity 1 ( a p p r o x i m at e ly 3 0 m i n u t e s )

Say: Today we’re going to watch some short videos about “sparks” and read a story about someone who has what we call a “spark.” What do you think of when you hear the word spark? (Likely responses include fireworks, sparklers, lighter, fire, burn.) You know that some words can have more than one meaning, right? And what do we call those kinds of words? (Homonyms.) When we talk about people having a spark, we mean they have a passion for something. They don’t just like doing it, they love doing it! It is something they can imagine doing for a long time. It is something they find exciting and interesting. There can be many kinds of sparks, and everyone has at least one. A spark could be playing baseball or playing the piano. It could be reading or math or science. It could be drawing or dancing or shooting hoops. Explain how the word spark is a metaphor for a person’s real passion. Ask: What does it mean when someone is “on fire” about an idea or activity? Or talk about sparklers; ask, Have you seen sparklers or held them on the Fourth of July? They are fiery, beautiful, exciting, fun. They make you smile. They can be a lot like sparks. Show a sample Spark.A.Vision video and the student video about Sparks. We are going to talk about our own sparks later. For now, let’s hear about one person with a spark. Read the book Strong to the Hoop by John Coy, illustrated by Leslie Jean-Bart. In this book, ten-year-old James loves to play basketball, and when he gets a chance to join a four-on-four basketball game with his older brother and his friends, James wants to show the older boys he can

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keep up with them. Although James gets off to a rocky start, encouragement from his brother Nate and his own determination help him hold his own and prove he is a contender in the scrappy playground game. Key points: James’s spark is basketball, a spark he shares with his friends and brother. Some people think he is not good enough at his spark yet. But your spark is about what you love to do, not about how good you are. James loves basketball, so it is one of his sparks. Ask the following questions: • What is James’s spark? (Basketball.) • Do other people know James’s spark? (Yes, big brother Nate; Zo; Slinky man with sunglasses.) • Who helps and supports James with his spark? (Neighborhood, brother.) • What is one of the author’s sparks? (Writing, poetry, basketball.)

Variations Here are three other books that you could use for this activity, or feel free to come up with your own book or short story that demonstrates the key points about a young person following her or his spark. The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, 1997, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. During the Depression of the early 1930s, young Lydia Grace goes to live with her gloomy uncle because her family is going through hard times. Lydia is able to use her love of flowers and gardening to brighten the dark urban neighborhood and bring smiles to the neighbors, to her uncle, and to herself.

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Key points: Lydia Grace was lucky to have so many people support her spark. No one told her it was silly or foolish. It might have discouraged her if someone had said negative things, and she may have even given up on gardening. Follow-up questions: What might have happened if people teased Lydia Grace about her spark or made fun of her interest in flowers? How would you like to be treated when you talk about your sparks? Weslandia by Paul Fleischman, 1999, Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press. Wesley is an unusual boy; he doesn’t like pizza or soda, he thinks professional football is stupid, and he refuses to get a fashionable haircut. Both his parents and his peers treat his differences as bad. But when Wesley has an idea for how to use what he’s learned in school about plants and civilizations as a summer project, magical things happen, and his spark lights up the whole neighborhood. Key points: Sometimes a spark is a little hard to define. Developing and expressing your spark can lead to great things: new food sources, new fabrics, new music, or even a new, improved society. Follow-up question: What is Wesley’s spark? Does he have more than one? Is it hard for Wesley to know he has different ideas than his classmates? How does Wesley use his spark to create something amazing? Is it okay for different people to have different sparks?

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes, 1996, New York: Greenwillow Books. Note that this book may be familiar to 3rd and 4th graders from earlier years, but ask them to listen again with their 3rd and 4th grade ears! Lilly finds so many things to love about school, including her teacher, Mr. Slinger, that she thinks she will become a teacher when she grows up. Her devotion to this particular spark is daunted by the teacher’s unwillingness to let her disrupt the class with her excitement about a new purse and sunglasses. But she returns to this spark in the end, adding it to a long list of other possible sparks she might grow into. Key points: You might find a spark almost anywhere during your daily life. Your sparks may change over time and you might have more than one. Follow-up questions: What is the new spark Lilly discovers? What does she like about it? Who supports her in this spark? What other sparks does Lilly have?

Activity 2 ( a p p r o x i m at e ly 1 5 –2 0 m i n u t e s )

Hand out to each student a copy of the spark wordfind sheet. Share with them that there are many kinds of sparks, and tell them that they will be looking for some of these different sparks as they do the wordfind activity. Help them understand that a spark can be something they already do or something they would like to try. After they are done with the wordfind, read aloud together the words that describe different sparks. Then share with students that in the next activity they will

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be making a long list of sparks and thinking about what one of their own sparks might be.

Some kids will know one of their sparks, some won’t. Most kids will get as close as “something I like or might like to do.” Some children may feel shy about sharing their personal spark with the class; encourage them to share but don’t require it. Assure all that whether they know their spark yet or not, everyone can have a spark, and you’ll be looking for clues to possible sparks with them in the next lesson.

Activity 3 ( a p p r o x i m at e ly 3 0 m i n u t e s )

Have the class brainstorm some of the many different types of sparks that people have. You can use these ten popular spark clusters for hints:

• Being outside in nature, taking care of animals

Have the students decorate the spark sheet with glitter or glitter glue and emphasize that everyone should be proud of their spark. You could create a classroom or hallway display with these completed spark sheets. Note: Some children may initially suggest that something rather vague is their spark. Try guiding them toward a more specific answer by asking:

• Using computers

• How is that important to you?

• Thinking of ways to start a business or make money

• Do you practice and get better at it?

• Learning, reading, practicing

• Is it creative?

• Doing art, dance, music, or writing • Building or making things, or taking things apart • Playing sports • Helping people or the environment

• Teaching other people how to do things • Leadership (being captain of a team, taking charge of a group)

• What part of it do you like the best? As the class period draws to a close, pass out the My Spark Is stickers and tell students that they can write on them and use them any way they would like.

7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 V o c a b u l a r y 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 77 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

Generate a long list of different sparks and record them on the board.

Have each student think for a moment about his or her sparks and then write on the My Spark Is sheet what they think one or more of their sparks might be. You could also have students cut a piece of paper into the shape of a candle flame, write their spark on it, and then decorate it. Stress that they don’t have to be good at it yet or the best at it. It just needs to be something they really like to do or that they really want to try. Share that it is fine if they don’t know their sparks yet; the point is to explore what their sparks might be.

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• Does it engage your brain?

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Spark, passion

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My Spark Is . . .

This handout may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). From Igniting Sparks: Connecting Students’ Interests and Talents to Classroom Success, Instructor Guide, Grades Three through Six. Copyright © 2009, 2012 by Search Institute®, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 800-888-7828, www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

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Find These Spark Words

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acting

gardening

piano

animals

gymnastics

reading

baseball

helping

science

bowling

history

singing

cooking

hockey

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dancing

learning

swimming

dinosaurs

writing

math

drawing

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This handout may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). From Igniting Sparks: Connecting Students’ Interests and Talents to Classroom Success, Instructor Guide, Grades Three through Six. Copyright © 2009, 2012 by Search Institute®, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 800-888-7828, www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

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Igniting Sparks Elementary School Instructor Guide  

Developed especially for students in grades 3-6, Igniting Sparks helps teachers engage children in meaningful conversations to help them fin...

Igniting Sparks Elementary School Instructor Guide  

Developed especially for students in grades 3-6, Igniting Sparks helps teachers engage children in meaningful conversations to help them fin...

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