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How to Get Rid of Teacher-Led Assemblies

Do your teachers or staff still lead assemblies? Check out this post on how we made the switch to student-led assemblies and how you can do it too! Learn how to give more control to students. Be brave and read on!

How it was in the past…
When I first started teaching, I remember getting a packet of “Welcome Back” papers when we returned for a new year. In that packet was the dreaded Assembly Schedule. Now… assemblies can be fun… but back then, each teacher would be in charge of two assemblies a year and it was up to them to get information to the kids in a fun way. This can be challenging… considering assemblies were always on a Monday morning!

Looking to the future…
A few years later our school started adopting the Leadership mentality (read my post about Investing in Leadership) and our little elementary school blossomed with all these high spirited leaders! So naturally, we wanted to start handing some responsibilities over to them. We started with school-wide jobs and one of those was the school Public Speakers. These kids are pretty much the face of our elementary! They speak at board meetings, leadership conferences, and yes… assemblies! We are now, have 100% Student-Led Assemblies!

Letting students have control…
Is it hard to give up control… ummm… YES! However, once you start giving up one piece at a time, it almost becomes relieving!

So, once the Public Speakers were chosen (from applications… get them here) we had a meeting to discuss their responsibilities and go over the rules of our group meetings. I get to meet with these students for one hour, every Friday. While I have them, I use this time to work on social skills and team building, as well as, practicing and planning. I did not realize at first how high spirited and bossy they could be to each other. So, even though they have an exciting job at school and are natural-born leaders, they still need practice relating to others and learning how to show compassion and empathy.

Let kids brainstorm for ideas…
When the kids come into my office, they know the drill! We brainstorm one week, then the next we do what needs to be done (video,skit, etc.) and the third week we practice. By the time the fourth week comes around… they are ready to host the assembly.

Week one is all about gathering ideas. I let them brainstorm using a Bubble Map Graphic Organizer. We start with our topic in the middle and they can decide what they want to do in order to teach the other kids about that topic. At our school, our focus is on leadership, so we teach the 7 Habits at our assemblies. I will say, there are times when I can not picture their idea in my head. So… we just have to go with it and by the end I am usually pleasantly surprised! Another thing is… the other kids get it! Kids relate to other kids… so having them relay information in a fun way… helps a lot!

Week two is getting their ideas into reality. I am mainly there to facilitate and help with technology. They usually write their own scripts and/or plan out a video they want to make. My students love doing news broadcasts and music videos! I help record and make small edits… but they plan out the rest.

Some of the equipment I use are…

Phone (easiest way to record)

Computer for edits (Filmora.com)

Microphone for Computer (Snowball)

Green Screen for editing out the background

Practice makes perfect…
Week three is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! We have a performing arts center and our kids love going in their to use the microphones. This was a huge thing at first because they had to learn how to speak and stand on stage. However, once they did it a couple times in front of their peers… they are pros! To make the assemblies run smooth… we keep the same format. I have a PowerPoint that has our assembly schedule on it. Every assembly we run through the same slides. For example, we start out with welcoming our flag leaders and we do the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we move into our elementary motto and talk about the habit of the month. From there, we have our habit awards and dismiss. This makes it easier because students know what to expect when they are presenting.

Here is a breakdown of our assemblies…

Welcome Students and Flag Leaders
Pledge of Allegiance
Pledge of Attendance
Bully-Free Pledge
Leader Motto
Morning Announcements
Habit of the Month
Attendance Updates
Habit Awards
Shout Outs
Joke of the Month
The students do everything besides the Habit Awards… our Assistant Principal hands out those. During assemblies, I am in the sound booth running the sound and computer. Originally, we had students to do that too, but they insisted they get on stage. LOL!

Reflect on what worked and what didn’t…
Reflection is a big piece to the puzzle, because they need to realize what worked and what didn’t. I want them to be able to problem solve and come up with another solution to fix what needs to be done. At first, this looked like me taking notes, and talking to them about it later. However, now that they know the drill, I don’t even need to tell them. They pick up on things they want to fix before I even notice it’s a problem.

Overall, I LOVE the switch we made! The students in our building would much rather hear their friends on stage than the teachers and we feel they get more out of it. I feel this way, because I hear kids all the time referring to something the Public Speakers did or said at an assembly. If they are retaining that information and applying it to situations in their lives…. that is success to us!

Do you do student-led assemblies? Is it working for your building? I am always looking for new ideas… what works best for you?