"Advocate for Yourself" is the theme for week three of Forman Summer 2017. During morning meeting each day, students practiced mindfulness in the form of meditation, body scan, walking meditation, and mindful listening. As students become more aware of their strengths and more comfortable with themselves as learners, it is important for them to also be able and willing to speak on their own behalf.
Understanding the complex social interplay of effective advocacy for oneself or on behalf of others is a lifelong challenge. As adults who take on the responsibility of children, we make a shift from focusing on our own interests and needs to a wider and deeper set of responsibilities and consequences. Your adolescent children are just learning to identify their interests and particularly their needs. Our focus this week has been to help students reach a place where they have the confidence needed to make a plan and meet it. In our morning and evening meetings, and in the dorms, we have focused on how this plays out socially.
The writing classes focused on the persuasive essay as an example of advocacy in practice. Ms. Munn's Executive Function Skills class explored what is involved in self-control and response inhibition. The motto we support is "stop, think, act" rather than what often happens, "act, stop, think." Improved self-awareness helps students recognize their needs and ability to advocate for themselves.
On Monday evening, Forman School Director of Ingenuity Chris Ford spoke to the summer students about the Ingenuity Program. This unique program allows our students to pursue a passion and talent that is outside of a traditional high school curriculum. Students take advantage of their learning difference(s) by creating a student-centered, teacher-supported learning platform. For bright students who learn differently, it is important to provide challenge, encouragement, and structure while celebrating the many possible paths to success.
On Tuesday, students were divided into groups of 23 for a rotation. In these smaller groups, alumni staff shared their journey as a person who learns differently. These included recent graduates who also attended Forman Summer as well as those who have transitioned to college and the work force. We then watched this video that gives perspective on how different brains process the world differently.
On Thursday, the same groups hung out together in our game room and lounge. Another group was introduced to different ways they can ease discomfort from within the body. Massage, yoga, aromatherapy, and exercise are just a few. The third group joined John Marshall, a local percussionist and teacher, who introduced the students to the art of hand drumming. They created music and rhythm while learning about working together in synchronicity.