Use Responsive Advisory Meeting to Lend a Helping Hand

Use Responsive Advisory Meeting to Lend a Helping Hand

The holidays are a time everyone looks forward to. Some of us cannot wait to relax and binge watch our favorite TV shows; some are ready to eat delicious holiday foods; some are ready to spend quality time with family and friends. But the holidays are not just for rest and relaxation with friends and family. They are also a time to think about others and reach out and help our community.


Because Responsive Advisory Meetings provide a safe place for students to strengthen their academic, social, and emotional competencies, explore their interests more deeply, and develop new skills and talents, it’s a natural setting to discuss the topic of community service with students. Using the components of Responsive Advisory Meetings, you can structure conversations in which students connect with peers who share similar interests, practice brainstorming and problem-solving skills, and find joy and motivation through their engagement with meaningful activities.  


Here is a Responsive Advisory Meeting lesson you can use to strengthen your community through the planning of a service project:


Arrival Welcome 

Greet each student by name as they enter the classroom. Consider adding an air fist bump or air high five.



Hello, Community Volunteers!

Today, you will explore how we’re all connected to people and places in our greater community and ways to help out in our community.  

What are some ways that people volunteer or help out in our community?



As a whole group, tally up students’ ideas for ways people can volunteer or help out in their community. List these ideas and place them into categories. Designate one corner of the room for each of the top four categories. Give students some time to think about their interests. Students move to that corner, greet students in their corner, and name and share one reason they made that choice.



Tell students they are going to plan a volunteer activity for their Four Corners choice. Give each group chart paper and have them label it “Help-a-Thon” along with the name of their chosen activity. Each group discusses and records their responses to the following questions: 

  1. What is the goal of your help-a-thon? 
  2. What steps will you take to reach that goal? 
  3. Who from the community is needed to help plan your help-a-thon? 
  4. What resources—such as equipment, money, or food—will be needed?


 Collect the charts and post them around the room.



“How would your help-a-thon positively influence our community? How does working together as a team strengthen community-building?”


Tips for Volunteering Ideas

  • Research volunteer opportunities in your community that students could participate in.
  • Invite people from the community to come and talk to students about their volunteer efforts (or organization) and how students could get involved.
  • Reach out to the people running the places where students are interested in volunteering and ask what types of volunteer help they might need.


Written by Michelle Benson, Responsive Classroom Chief Professional Learning Officer