Schools are moving away from scheduling homeroom time on a daily basis. Instead, they are opting for having homeroom once a week or on an as-needed basis. Still, teachers find themselves in homeroom for extended periods of time, and it is an ideal opportunity for homeroom guidance activities. Wise is the teacher who utilizes these bits of time for helping students maneuver through what can be choppy years of high school.

Transition

Many homeroom guidance activities center around helping students successfully transition from the hormones-with-feet stages of junior high to the sometimes overwhelming high school arena. Activities should help students learn their new high school and how it operates, along with rules, regulations and handbook expectations.

Involvement

Homeroom teachers can be of enormous help in steering students into activities, clubs, sports and extracurricular offerings. The selection can be overwhelming, but not selecting is too often the choice for many students. Homeroom activities can guide students into getting involved in activities they may not even have considered, all which become an integral part of the high school experience.

Course selection

Homeroom activities should help students learn, early on, the importance of all four years of high school. Students may not be aware that the grades they earn in the ninth grade will weigh into overall grade point averages later on, ultimately affecting their college acceptance and scholarship opportunities.

Graduation requirements

Homeroom guidance activities should always keep graduation requirements on the radar screen. Teachers should have students fill in a form that has them check off their own progress toward meeting their personal graduation requirements. Yes, the school does keep computerized records, but part of a teacher’s job is to help make students accountable. Such skills will serve students well throughout their college and career lives. That old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else” holds true.

Etiquette

Thank-you notes, prom invitations, graduation invitations--all these occasions provide homeroom teachers opportunities for teaching proper social etiquette. Although students may snicker, most will appreciate knowing how, even if they don’t always do so correctly, to write a proper acknowledgment. Students need to know that if someone thinks enough of them to send a gift, they need to take the small amount of time it takes to write a thank-you note. They also need to know that people will be judging them on their etiquette for the rest of their lives.

Standardized testing

Homeroom activities can include teaching students where to find information concerning standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT. Homeroom is an ideal time to show students the various websites and to stress how, over the course of several years, practice with the SAT question of the day can help pump up those SAT scores.

Scholarships

Homeroom teachers run across all types of communications regarding scholarship opportunities. Keeping a designated area for such notices and incorporating this material into homeroom guidance activities will often result in more scholarship money for students. Bulletin boards, information folders, website addresses and posted reminders serve students well in those times when they find themselves waiting for the bell.