Monday, October 12, 2015

Try the High-Five Strategy “Treasure Hunters and Trash Collectors”

by Guest Blogger Donna Wilson

We encourage teachers and parents alike to help students to develop the habit of consistently focusing on what’s useful and positive in their lives. An effective way to do this is to use the High-Five strategy, as described in our book, 60 Strategies for Increasing Student Learning.

The first step is to introduce the concept of positive learning. Discuss the benefits such as better motivation, problem solving, and well-being. Ensure that students have a chance to participate. Ask students if they would like to learn a way to more consistently sustain positive learning states. When you get their affirmation, read aloud the following story about Treasure Hunters and Trash Collectors.

Treasure Hunters and Trash Collectors

It seems that in life there are two types of people. The first are treasure hunters. Every day they seek out what is useful and positive. They focus on it, talk about it, and think about it. Each of these moments is treasured like a bright, shining jewel that they store in their treasure chest forever.

And then there are trash collectors who spend their lives looking for what is wrong, unfair, and not working. They focus their energy, time, and thoughts on the trash, and every day they put that trash into a big trashcan.

The treasure hunters proudly carry their treasure into the future, while the trash collectors drag their heavy, smelly trashcan from one day to the next. The question is: When they get to the end of the year, what does each person have—a treasure chest filled with useful, positive memories, or a trash can full of things they didn't like?
 The choice is yours. You get to decide.

Follow up the story with these steps:

  • Ask your students if they would like a simple way to become more of a treasure hunter.
  • Ask students to think of things (If appropriate you could ask for five) that they could feel good about, things in their life that they like. These are their “high-vive” things.
  • Ask your students to draw a mind map or write or draw what their things are.
  • Have students to go to five other people, give them a high-five, and read to them what their high-five things are.

Continue to use this process once a week or once a month, and encourage students to find more and new things to put into their high-five list.

Teachers across the states enjoy using this simple technique as a wonderful way to get students to begin to scan and focus on what’s useful and positive. The power of this technique comes when teachers model it on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. Feel free to use this strategy as we describe it, or modify for your particular group. After all, teachers are the experts about their students!

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