The Strengths Assessment helps people become more self-aware, engaged, positive, and goal-focused. Studying my own strengths and having these discussions with students sparked an interest. After I asked students what they thought their strengths were, one student found a free version of the test. With that, I developed a Strengths lesson. Students’ goal for this lesson was to create an artwork showing a personal strength and how they can use it to help others.
Savannah B., grade nine, Strength: Chameleon.Left: Lukas K., grade nine, Strength: Winner. Right: Charisma K., grade eleven, Strength: Problem Solving.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. For students and even adults, sometimes it can be difficult to identify them. When asking students about their strengths, they usually name one or two things they’re good at. Pinpointing our strengths and putting a name to them can seem like a simple thing, but it goes much deeper.
As part of a leadership program, I was posed the questions, “Who am I?” and “What are my strengths?” I took the Gallup Clifton Strengths Assessment to help answer these questions. According to Gallup, “the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.”
The assessment has one hundred slider scale questions about beliefs, ideas, education, relationships, and sharing with others. Finishing my test, I discovered my top five strengths are Arranger, Learner, Includer, Input, and Strategic. My number-one strength is Arranger: “In your mind, there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others lacking this theme will be in awe of your ability.”
The Strengths Assessment helps people become more self-aware, engaged, positive, and goal-focused. Studying my own strengths and having these discussions with students sparked an interest. After I asked students what they thought their strengths were, one student found a free version of the test. With that, I developed a Strengths lesson.
Finding Students’ Strengths
Students’ goal for this lesson was to create an artwork showing a personal strength and how can they use it to help others.
Students began by taking the HIGH5 strengths test. After answering the questions, they were given their top five strengths and a definition for each.
Popular strengths included Believer, Coach, Thinker, Winner, Empathizer, Commander, Chameleon, and Brainstormer. Some strengths, like Brainstormer, were just what you would assume them to be: “Your objective is to come up with new concepts and ideas. It’s not even your objective—it’s your way of life. You are constantly on the lookout to connect unconnectable things and to find new perspectives on familiar challenges...”
Some strengths took students off guard. Most students who received Coach would tell me, “I don’t like sports; I’m not a coach.” But then we looked at the definition: “Your objective is to develop people’s potential. Contrary to what others might think, you believe that every person has the potential for development... You perceive it as a personal mission to help others utilize their potential and to experience success.”
Students added their names and strengths to a Google document. This was a great way to organize and share everyone’s strengths during the lesson. Many students shared similar strengths, which often started conversations in class.
Choosing a Strength
After the document was compiled with everyone’s strengths, I asked students to choose one of their strengths to explore further. It could be a strength they were most interested in or one they thought reflected their personality the most.
Students created a page in their sketchbook dedicated to their chosen strength, answering the questions What is the strength? and How are you like this strength? I encouraged students to write, sketch, and collage reference photos within their sketchbook. When the sketchbook page was completed, students discussed their ideas with one another.
I gave my Studio Art students a choice of oil pastels or watercolor paint. Another class of advanced students were given free rein on materials, but they had to write a proposal on how they would use the materials and how they would suit the project.
After they finished, students reflected on their strengths, the creation process, and their thoughts about the project as a whole. As choice is an important part of my curriculum, students were able to choose how to present their reflection. Some created a Google Slides presentation or a Google doc, while others recorded a Flipgrid.
Giving students a chance to learn more about themselves while creating and giving them ownership in the creation process is so important in the 21st century.
Capture students’ attention and engagement with lessons that lay the groundwork for a memorable school year! In this issue, students learn about art room procedures while participating in a scavenger hunt, identify key strengths and how they can use them, develop personal connections to drawing exercises through altered books, create abstract compositions during a virtual artist visit, and more.