Workshops Inspired by Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech
Trill or Not Trill?
The Democratic National Convention started off with a bang. Between protests, lively Bernie supporters and and a great lineup of speakers, we witnessed some excitement. Of all the talent, it was our First Lady who stole the show for me. Below are some quotes pulled from Michelle’s stirring speech and included are some leadership activities too!
1. The Spirit Wall QUOTE:
How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.
Students should combat hateful language with positive language. Using a large notepad, butcher block, or any large writing space students will use positive langue that they feel represents the spirit of their school, club, group or institution. The list should include at least 15 positive sentences
Why is it important to rely positive messages?
What are some repercussions to using hateful language to describe your country other people or school?
2. Our MottoQUOTE:
How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.
Students will create their own motto using the basis of “When they ______ We ________”
The message of their motto should include ways they will battle or solve an issues raised by problems or people. It can a world issue or one specific to their situation. A solution is required.
i.e. When they speak on injustice. We speak of equality at higher volumes
What is the importance of not stooping to negative people’s levels?
Who’s responsible for the selected issue?
Why did you choose those specific words to use for your motto?
3. The Mentor Challenge QUOTE:
Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope and he wondered, is my hair like yours?
Students must select one person who they look up to and would define them as a mentor. Describe 3 characteristics that make that person a viable mentor. Students should also describe at lease one to two reasons of why they look up to the individual.
Part 2: Students must identify one person who they could potentially serve as a mentor to. (family member, friend, fellow student leader). Student should list 3 characteristics about themselves that would make them a good mentor.
Why are mentors important to have?
Why did you choose particular characteristics to describe mentors?
4. 140 Challenge QUOTE:
I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.
Students must identify an issue or problem that their group, organization,club or school is dealing with. Students must then attempt to create resolution through a message that cannot exceed 140 characters. Facilitator can determine if students get create any additional “tweets” or 140 character long messages.
What was the most difficult part of keeping your message?
How does social media help or hurt in problem solving?
Can problems be effectively solved in 140 characters if yes/no, why or why not?
5. The Origin Story QUOTE:
That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.
Student must tell or write their own personal origin stories as student leaders. (facilitators can change the nature of the origin story.) Students should describe what helped build who they are today. Students should describe at least one thing they were ashamed about prior to them becoming student leaders. Students should also describe how they overcame obstacles.
What was the toughest part of becoming who you are today?
Who were the people around you, who helped or hindered your development?
Why are origin tales and historical beginnings important?
6. Who’s Up First? QUOTE:
And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.
Students will create a list of “firsts” achievements that they’d like to accomplish. First female president of the club, first person to graduate, first chapter to have the highest gpa on campus, first to score 30 points in a game etc. Students should then describe two to three ways they will achieve these firsts.
Why is it important to be the first and create milestones?
Why did you select those specific firsts?
MrJeffDess is a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent. He is an author of 4 books of poetry, including his latest, Deconstructing Ratchet. With over ten years of performing and student affairs experience under his belt MrJeffDess continues to strive towards helping students reach their highest potential. For booking information, contact MrJeffDess at firstname.lastname@example.org