Set The B.A.R.
by Ali Campbell
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To encourage those in Year 7 who have just arrived from primary school to prioritize the right things as they get going in secondary school.
Preparation and materials
Visual aids (graphic representations for PowerPoint or physical illustrations if you can get hold of them):
- Picture of a seesaw or some other kind of balance apparatus, or an actual seesaw (if you can)
- Picture of an aeroplane with a focus on the nose of the plane
- Picture of friends or - if space - a piggy back race
- Prepare the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOksW_NabEk
- Welcome to secondary school! And for Year 8, welcome back! For Year 9, here we go again . . .
This is it then, you have made it - here you are, secondary school. You are no longer the oldest, biggest, wisest in your school. We are going to look at just three things together to think about how you will set the BAR for yourself as you make a start.
- First up: B for Balance. A lot was thrown at you towards the end of your time in primary school with exams, longer trips from school and time spent preparing you for leaving . . . well, now you are here you will need to find a whole new rhythm to life - school is set up differently, with different expectations about work and time - so it is really important you get your balance right!
(Picture of seesaw, or use a physical illustration to highlight this)
Show 'The Time You Have' video (YouTube):
- Think about how much time you spend working, resting and playing or hanging out with friends and family. Striking the right balance now is really important, as it can be hard to break bad habits later . . . so get good rest on weekdays; make time for friends and family; when you have homework, work steadily by allocating some time each day . . . How can you make today a good day? What will you do with it?
- Second is A for Attitude. (Tell this story) 'A farmer had a donkey. This donkey was not very bright, or so the farmer thought, because one day he fell into a hole. The hole was so deep the donkey could not climb out. He was too heavy for the farmer to pull out. What to do? Stupid donkey, thought the farmer! He thought to himself, the donkey is no good to me in there and I can’t pull him out, so I’ll just have to shoot him! The farmer got his gun. As he took aim, the donkey looked up with his big brown eyes (imagine the donkey out of Shrek at this point) and the farmer, being a big softy, couldn’t shoot him. Then he had another thought, I’ll bury him! The farmer fetched his shovel and starting throwing in dirt to fill the hole with the stupid donkey! Now, at this point the donkey has a choice - he can think to himself, my farmer doesn’t love me, everything is a disaster, I’m being buried alive, woe, woe is me! Or he can throw off the dirt as it hits his back and step up! As fast as the Farmer shovelled, the donkey threw off the dirt; it began to gather under his feet and he stepped up. The Farmer couldn't understand what was happening! Gradually a mound of earth grew, the donkey kept shaking off the dirt and stepping up - until he stepped out of the hole. Genius donkey!!
- Not everything is going to go great, sometimes stuff won’t work or we will hit some problems, things will get tough and then we have to make a choice; what will our attitude be when something happens? Do we shake it off and step up - or get pulled down and give up. We can’t always choose how things will go - but we can choose out attitude! What attitude will you have?
Quote: Dumbledore. talking to Harry Potter:
'It’s not our abilities that determine who we are, it’s the choices we make.'
- Choose the right attitude! (For 'attitude' you could also mention the 'attitude' meter on a plane. A plane also has an attitude meter. It just tells the pilot whether the nose of the plane is pointing up or down. What is your attitude like?
- Third is R for relationship. If you are in Year 7 then you probably have loads of new people to get to know. Be the friend that you want to have! Some of the friends you make now might last a lifetime and help get you through when things are hard and, some of cheer you on when things go well - you will be there for them too. We become like the people that we hang out with, so, as you make friends, consider this: do the people you hang out with make you feel better about yourself? Do they encourage you, do you encourage them? What makes for a good friend? Trust, sense of humour, someone who cares about you? Value your friends, make time for your friends, be the friend you want to be.
'Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.' (Ecclesiastes 4.9-10)
- These three things, your balance, attitude and the relationships you keep will set the B.A.R. as you get stuck in to secondary school.
Time for reflection
Maybe one of these poems will give pause for thought; both are about setting the B.A.R. It is all about attitude! The road not taken is about exactly that, taking the road less travelled . . . not everyone sets a bar, will you?
Read 'If' by Rudyard Kipling
or 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost
'It’s a Beautiful Day' by U2 (No matter what happens, today can be beautiful; also, starting something new can be exciting and fun)
'It’s My Life' by Bon Jovi (This is properly about seizing the day and choosing to LIVE)
'That’s What Friends Are For' by Dionne Warwick (All about those friendships that will get you through)
'You Get What You Give' by New Radicals (A song about not giving up, and the title reflects the reality that we get out life what we are prepared to put in to it)