My top 5: arranger, learner, input, individualization, relator
About a month ago, we had planned on having a Freeman Strengths Day for all students and staff in grades PK-12. However, Mother Nature had different plans and brought one her many winter snow storms this winter. There was so much time and planning that went into planning this day that it all seemed disappointing. Luckily, we were able to move it to February 19th with the same speakers that we originally booked. As Mother Nature reared her head again, it looked like this week's event might not happen either. The weather held off for 1 day so we could squeak it in!
If you are not familiar with what strengths are, I am hoping this post will fill you in and encourage you to look at little deeper into how it can impact your life. I will admit that it has taken me a little while to get on board and see how it can be a benefit in my life and my work life. But now that I am into it and learning, it has made a difference in how I see others and understand how they work.
A huge shout out goes to Mr. Tony Jensen. He is our Ag teacher and FFA sponsor. He has really embraced the strengths and put a lot of effort into growing it at Freeman. Perhaps you have heard of Gallup, which is based in Omaha, by the way: https://www.gallup.com
"We're a global analytics and advice firm that helps leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems."
One of the many services that they offer is giving the Clifton Strengths Finder. If you go to their website, you can take the assessment right now and find out what your top 5 strengths are. In fact, you can find out what your top 34 are. The philosophy behind learning about your top 5 is to use your strengths to better understand how you naturally work and develop your greatest talents. It also helps you recognize that in others and instead of focusing on what people are weak or not good at, you focus on what they are good at or their strengths. Think of how much stronger the work force would be if that was the focus instead of the other way around?
Mr. Jensen has created a Strengths group that meets monthly to talk about using their strengths and spotting strengths around them in others. This can help you better understand how to work with others. This has been helpful in working with children in school. The school has been working for 2 years to get everyone in the building to take the Strengths Finder assessment to identify their top 5. All the teachers now have completed it in addition to all students grades 5-12. For the younger students, we are talking about what strengths are and how you can use them productively. As they get older, hopefully they will better understand them and then take the assessment themselves.
Out of this group, came the idea of creating a Strengths Day that included ALL the teachers and students doing similar activities embracing their strengths and working together on tasks. There were some donations and grant money that helped provide t-shirts for everyone in the building with a logo that was designed by a student at school.
The team created a schedule of rotations broken up by grades K-4 and 5-12. Students were placed in groups with students in multiple grade levels. We began and ended the day with an assembly and had several speakers including DeMoine Adams, former Husker football player. There were science STEM activities to launch marshmallows and hold metal washers, activities to design locker signs or capes with your top strengths, refreshments and games, and the reading of How Full Is Your Bucket?
The day was powerful. It was pretty amazing to see so many students and staff learning about their strengths and how they can be empowered by them. I know that it made an impact because my two girls didn't stop talking about it at the dinner table last night. They were all kinds of chatty about the strengths that they have and how they can use them and why they possess them.
In a world where we tend to focus on the negative and the "this isn't good enough" it was refreshing to feel uplifted and see 450+ people doing good in the world. This was definitely a day to celebrate and be proud of. I can't wait to see what we will do next!
If you are wanting to learn more about Strengths Day, go to Twitter and search #freemanfalcons or #freemanstrengths