Students will be able to build community within the building with a member of the support staff (i.e. nurse, custodian, etc.) Students will be able to gain new perspectives about the role that these individuals play and understand why they are important for the improvement of the school community.
Materials: chart paper, pencils, and writing paper
Preparation and Procedure
The teacher will choose five important members of the support staff and ask them if they would participate in the shadowing activity. The teacher can choose how long or short of time period that the students will stay with the member of the support staff. Before the students shadow these community members, the teacher should ask them to come into the classroom and provide a description of the job that they perform. This is a great chance for conversations to ignite between the students and the staff. Students can ask them a particular question and decide who they would like a chance to shadow with for the next week. It is ideal that the students rotate with each support staff member. The teacher should have the students generate questions to ask the members of the support staff, and should ask those selected staff members if they can take show the students what it is like to perform their job in the building.
The students will be divided into smaller groups, perhaps four to five students per staff member and spend part of the day shadowing them. The students can watch the interactions among other staff members and students throughout the building and see the actual job performed. For example, if the student is shadowing the custodian, and the student watches the custodian clean the cafeteria, and another student throws garbage all over the floor, then the students shadowing the custodian will see the amount of work that is needed to clean the building and will learn how it feels to "walk in someone else's shoes" for the day. Hopefully, the students will gain a new perspective on how staff members influence the building's overall climate.
After the shadowing/role-playing activity, the students will reflect on their experience after rotating through all support members' jobs. They will be given sentence starters to describe their experience: For example, today I realized or I learned this, are just a few sentence starters that the students can use to reflect. Other students can choose to write a journal entry or a letter that expresses their experience. The teacher should open up the conversations about their experience and perspectives on what they saw and how they handled certain situations that aroused throughout the building.
The teacher will discuss how perspectives changed throughout the activity and prompt students to discuss the value of those support staff members have on the community of the school. The teacher can ask the students to report out or share their reflections and discuss ways that they can encourage others to help out or make the school environment better for everyone in school. Perhaps, the students can share their experiences with other classes, or ask those support staff members to work with smaller groups of students in order to pass on the experience. The teacher can always add to this idea or modify as needed to fit their students and their members of the school staff.