SPARKLERS / Being ourselves

Use your strengths

Activities to help tamariki in years 7 and 8 to practice and develop their strengths
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ACTIVITY TYPE:

To print:

Each student will need a set of Strengths cards: Print them one each onto cardboard - coloured board makes them look good too.

Why we love it

These activities help tamariki to tap into and foster their strengths. Knowing and understanding our strengths helps boost self-esteem, fosters resilience, and encourages a growth mindset.

Important info!

This list of activities follow on from Discover your strengths.

Once tamariki have their VIA Strength Finder quiz results, these activities will broaden their understanding and help them to put their strengths into action.

Tikanga Tips

Some tamariki may associate acknowledging their character strengths with being arrogant. It may be important to remind students that learning about and using our strengths can help bring out the best in ourselves and others. If you find any students not joining in, you may want to catch up with them away from the larger group.

What to do

We recommend using the following activities throughout the year.

Act it out!

Group tamariki into ‘strengths groups’ e.g. Kindness group, Humour group. Let each group know they have one of their top 3 strengths in common and ask them to (quietly) work out what ths is.

Give them 10 minutes to come up with a small performance for the rest of the class which includes – the frozen strength – a.k.a depicting their strength as a still image (like a picture) so the rest of the class can guess what it is.

As a group you can then discuss some of things people with this strength regularly do.

Strengths cards

Print out our Strengths Card worksheet onto cardboard. Ask tamariki to colour and cut out all 24 strengths cards. They can do this however they choose, and may want to add their quiz result 'ranking' numbers.

As tamariki complete the worksheet, ask if there are any strengths they’re confused about and have them add some notes to the back of their cards. You may want to refer to the VIA strength definitions for this.

Ask tamariki to select their top three or ‘signature’ strengths and look through the pile of other strengths. Ask them to choose another strength they’d love to be better at and ask them what it is about that strength that they like – i.e. why do they want to focus on it?
Ask them to write down three things that they could do to use this strength. Note these things need to be doable and manageable in ordinary, everyday life.

Check in to see if they feel motivated to do these things?

Let tamariki know this is all it takes to develop another strength, it’s about building a new habit and having a growth mindset – meaning we can grow and change and we’re not ‘fixed’ as we are now.

You may like to order and use our habit stickers to help tamariki practice their new strength.

NB: Get tamariki to keep their strengths cards somewhere safe so you can use them for more activities.

Dialling up your strengths!

NB: Your tamariki will need to have made strength cards for this activity.

Sometimes using a mental image of ‘dialling our strengths up and down’ helps tamariki recognise that we can utilise our strengths in different situations.

E.g. If we’re about to do a bungy jump, which strengths would we need to draw upon or ‘dial up’? Perhaps bravery, curiosity and zest?

And if we win the cross country, what’s a great strength to dial up? Perhaps humility and kindness?

Ask tamariki about their strengths – what have they noticed since identifying these? Have they been able to work on new strengths they’d like to ‘tap into’ more often?

Ask tamariki to refer to their strengths cards as they think through the following situations. Remind them they have all these strengths, not just their signature ones…

Then ask “Which strengths could you dial up (or draw upon) if:

a. You are asked to organise one of your sibling's or parent's birthday parties (eek!).

b. Your friend is really upset, but won't tell you why.

c. You have to try a new activity in front of others e.g play something tuneful on the saxophone.

Ask:

  • For each of these scenarios, are there any strengths you may need to ‘dial down’ (e.g. inappropriate humour if someone’s upset)?
  • Are there any strengths you want to work on after thinking about these scenarios?

Explain that strengths can be drawn on in any situation – e.g. when we’re a bit nervous we can dial up a strength to help us through, e.g. tapping into the strength of bravery when we have to do speeches, or using our strength of kindness when we know someone is feeling down. We can use our strengths at any time.

Extensions:

  • Ask what strengths they can dial up if someone is unkind to them.
  • What strengths work in line with the school values?

Resilience

NB: Your tamariki will need to have made strength cards (see above) for this activity.

Korero around the meaning of the word ‘Resilience’.

Ask tamariki to bring out their strengths cards and look at which strengths are a part of being resilient – e.g. hope, bravery, creativity and perspective.

Talk through the strengths tamariki think are important and why. Which strengths have tamariki used to help them during tricky or tough times?

Different environments, different strengths

NB: Your tamariki will need to have made strength cards (see above) for this activity.

Korero about our different environments – home, school, sport, visiting people’s homes, etc. Ask tamariki to identify three environments they spend time in, then using their strengths cards identify the strengths they dial up in those different environments.

  • Are there some strengths that are present in all environments?
  • Are there strengths they use in some envrionments and not others? Why is this?
  • How does your culture contribute to your strengths?
  • Ask tamariki to choose one environment where they could dial up a few more strengths to enjoy that place more, and be the best version of themselves. What strength would they use?
  • With this strength in mind, what actions could they take to help?
  • Are these actions manageable and doable? Who’s going to do them?

Thank you to...

We have had the kind help of Dr Lucy Hone to develop this activity and the many extensions. Lucy is a Positive Psychologist and lives and works in Christchurch.

To be honest, Lucy has provided loads of great advice to us with Sparklers!

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