Advisory is the heart of Gibson Ek. Students stay in the same advisory for four years and create a place where everyone is welcome to create, share, struggle and achieve. Each advisory creates its own culture, but many common practices are present.
A common part of advisory is circle time. Some advisories do this daily as a morning ritual, while others do it less frequently. Often circle time is used to share about weekends, good news, bummers, questions, and brags. Sometimes it is a space for the advisor to ask a question and each student answers. Many advisories have a talking piece (a rock, stuffed animal etc.) that is used so that no one interrupts. This is where the bonding happens.
Gibson Ek is training students for the real world. For many this is college and for others it is the work force. One thing that most successful adults have in common is organization. Because of the nature of our schedule at Gibson Ek, it is critical that students have a planner, calendar or some organization system that will be used for: writing down offerings, meetings, appointments, and task lists. It is in this planner that students will write down questions they have, or to-do items for the day. Some students use post-its on their
computer, some use paper planners, while others have an online system. The key is to guide them to find a system that works.
The students have to get used to our ever-changing schedule. There is no first period, second period and so on. Their classes will change, their meetings will switch and the appointments will vary. Because of this, an important part of morning advisory is time set aside to plan their day.
Students work with their advisors to develop a learning plan and create projects to meet the goals of that plan. Project planning and management happens daily.
A crucial part of advisory, as advisory is a student’s “home” at Gibson Ek. Community is built by engaging in academic or community work together, sharing work in progress, providing feedback, engaging in discussions, providing accountability and having fun together.
Students inspire and support each other as they take increasing ownership of their learning. Students can help others in project planning and problem-solving. Some advisories set aside time for one student to share work while it is in progress and get feedback from peers. Students also help each other plan and practice exhibitions.
Keeping students connected locally and globally is important as they mature into adulthood. Advisories may choose to watch a student news show, have students bring in current event articles to discuss, or even host an issues and controversies debate.
Some advisories read a book together once a year while others have a requirement of independent reading. You become better at writing by reading and better and reading by writing. So do both.
Inevitably, there will be issues with the school culture and discussing the problem needs to be done in advisory. Someone feels wronged or there was an incident at school; it is in advisory that you gather in a circle and discuss it.
Announcements/Nuts and Bolts
Advisory is where announcements take place, labs are suggested, schedule changes happen, ASB makes their announcements etc.