1. Ask students what workshops THEY want.
Students are way more likely to be engaged if they are part of the selection process. A quick survey will help ensure they have a personal interest in attending the workshop.
2. Invite non-SHSM students to your workshops.
Use your events as an opportunity to show non-SHSM students how fun and unique the program can be! Ask workshop providers if they'll charge a flat-rate fee so you can invite some extra students. Whether you hand-pick students or put out at general ad, an invitation may yield some new student interest!
3. Use the workshops to promote the SHSM.
Your workshop is bringing in outside voices to engage with students in new ways. Use this exciting dynamic as a way to showcase the SHSM program for the whole school. Advertise it beforehand, and showcase it afterwards!
4. Get a great workshop provider.
A workshop won't be great without a great provider. Do your research when looking for a facilitator. Check out their testimonials. When booking, ask key questions - Have they spoken to students before? Do they have repeat business? For more on this, stay tuned for a future email in our series about how to choose an awesome workshop facilitator!
5. Get a great space.
Make it a special event! Try hosting the workshop in a new space; get kids out of their typical classroom and into a new learning environment and you'll see the energy levels change.
6. Offer food.
Students LOVE free food. (Who doesn't?!) Not only that, but hunger can be a real distraction when it comes to learning. Consider some inexpensive, healthy snacks - chopped veggies and hummus, or fruit, for example. Students will keep their energy up, and the free food may even entice others to join the session. (Tip: Avoid processed and carb-heavy foods like muffins, bagels, and granola bars - while sometimes promoted as "healthy," they spike blood sugar and then put students to sleep.)
7. Take photos and videos to use for future promotions.
Photos are videos are great tools for promoting your SHSM program and future workshops. Your school can also use them to feature your program in a newsletter or on their website. Who knows - perhaps your board is looking for some promotional shots! Try engaging your art or media departments to find student photographers. (Be sure to get permission from students and facilitators before publishing any photos.)
8. Invite administration to welcome the students.
Administration is often looking for ways to connect with students in positive, exciting contexts. Invite principals or VPs to stop by to visit. Better yet, have them introduce the special event. Students will see that admin cares about them, and it will keep everyone on the same page about the significance of co-op programming.
9. Invite guidance so they can be better SHSM salespeople.
Guidance counsellors are often the ones signing students up for the SHSM program, so they should be there to see first-hand what it's all about. If they can see how much fun students have in their workshops, they will be better SHSM advocates in the future. You'll see your program grow!
10. Know what you're really teaching.
Of course we want students to have an edge when entering the work force, but we all know it's about the WHOLE student. SHSM workshops provide awesome opportunities to explore deep skills like self-confidence, working with others, and life skills. Keep in mind that life is not just about the "work path." Approach things holistically and they'll want to be involved because they'll see that you care about them as people!
The Beanstalk Project is a group of entertainers-turned-educators with unconventional ideas about how to make education better.