November 17, 2009

Wanted: Ideas for working with high school teens

Hey there--

I'm working with the Northern Yearly Meeting high school program on Saturday for a couple of hours and I'm looking for ideas of activities to do with them (Topic: Quakers, the Internet, and Convergent Friends).

I've been in touch with two of the teen organizers who have assured me that all shall will be well, especially if I focus on the INTENTION, which I typically do anyway. They also mentioned on their own that having some worship is also welcome.

I find I'm having a hard time thinking of just what to do and was wondering if any of you blog readers have any thoughts or resources to share with me.

I've been thinking of questions to use with the "Four Corners" exercise, a spectrum exercise, and/or a fishbowl around some question. I've also been toying with a sort of "Chalk Talk" exercise that I know Peterson has used...

Have any of you ever done concentric circles with high schoolers? How was that...? Any other ideas you can offer....?

I'm really tired and have a bit too much on my plate, or so it seems. So I'm reaching out to gain some additional stimulation. I know many of us are busy too, but hey, two or more busy minds are better than my one!

Blessings, and thanks for the help,


Robin M. said...

A couple of years ago I did a low tech blog commenting exercise with PacYM teens. I chose a few excerpts from relevant and challenging blog posts, printed them in extra large type, and hung them on the walls of the room next to large sheets of blank paper. I talked briefly about my own journey into blogging, asked them about their own internet presences, and invited them to go around the room and comment on the blogs, then go around again and read what others had written and comment again if they wanted. It worked really well.

This format requires a person to read out loud to anyone who is visually impaired, but I find that those people are often used to using software to achieve that effect, so it still works.

RantWoman said...

RantWoman attended one of RobinM's workshops at another gathering and REALLY liked it. Perhaps that was also because RantWoman found another Friend who partly read to her and partly had the conversation we were supposed to have.

I have especially been thinking about matters of reputation and seasoning things fairly openly. I do not know that I have been thinking clearly but that is a different problem.

Alice Y. said...

Possible questions for the group that spring to my mind - "How do we know what God wants us to do in the world today?" ("Who is God?" if necessary!) "What helps us do what God wants us to do?" "How can we help each other do what God wants us to do?". I guess as I see it I like group stuff to stick close to the source not get too focussed on side issues.

Liz Opp said...

Thanks for the ideas... Robin, I am thinking about using the low-tech blogging idea somehow. RantWoman, is that an exercise you enjoyed?

I'm hoping I'll have time and energy to write a post afterward... if Way is open.


RantWoman said...

One of the hazards of dialogue on the web for RantWoman is not necessarily getting back to something in time for a specific event.

At Robin M's workshop, I very much enjoyed:

--getting all the urls for everyone else's blogs so I could go home and read.

--chatting with the Friend who read me entries about her computer fast for Lent.

--generally hanging among Friends, some of whom I knew were interested enough to stay up way past their usual bedtimes.

But in terms of Alice's question about keeping God at the center, I wonder if youth participate in other fora besides Quaker blogs and if they have thoughts about a Quaker voice in such environments.

I ask this because I sometimes read the comments behind articles on my local paper's website. The quality of arguments there is sometimes just awful, but I am curious how young people interact with that reality.

Jay T. said...

A couple of formats I've used, one as a teen participant, one as an adult organizer for Quaker teens:

1) Start a discussion out in pairs. On signal, combine to fours, continuing on the same question. On signal, combine to eights. Continue until the group is whole. Suggest that the notable ideas from each group get passed on to the next larger group. Everyone gets to listen at some point; everyone to speak.

2) Bring in an elder, or several. Someone clearly older than the parents of the youth you're working with. Invite them to speak quite briefly about a subject they care about that the teeens might be interested in. Leave most of the time for questions. This format may not fit with the subjects of the internet or convergent Friends, but I used it for Quakerism and WWII conscientious objection to great effect.

Jay T.

Liz Opp said...

RantWoman -

Thanks for clarifying. I hope to have a post about how things went with the teens sometime soon.

One thing I'll say here quickly is that NONE of the teens there said they had a blog. They are all into Facebook and texting...

Jay -

I had come prepared with the possibility of moving from pairs to foursomes to larger and larger groups, but given how things turned out, I dropped that pretty quickly. Having the group together for most of the time turned out to be somewhat important: they got to experience me as a group while also doing a whole-group exercise, followed by a debrief, together.

And if there is ever an opportunity for Part 2, I'd like to be able to have a semi-facilitated Q&A with the teens. But that too will have to wait to see how Way might open...

Thanks for the comment, and I'll think about visiting your blog every now and then, too!