Beacon Lesson Plan Library

School Advisory Council

Catyn Coburn


Students participate in a discussion of the most pressing issues facing teenage students at their school. In groups, students present their issues to the class and reach consensus regarding the single most pressing issue the school faces.


The student uses effective strategies for informal and formal discussions, including listening actively and reflectively, connecting to and building on the ideas of a previous speaker, and respecting the viewpoints of others.

The student applies oral communication skills to interviews, group presentations, formal presentations, and impromptu situations.


-Peer Assessment Rubric (see attached file)


Prepare copies of the Peer Assessment Rubric for students.


-Students contribute to a discussion without dominating the discussion.
-Students respect the viewpoints of others.
-Students understand that a discussion builds upon the ideas of each contributor.

Authentic Context:
You are a member of the school advisory council discussing the most pressing issues that your school faces. In groups of four, the council members will brainstorm a list of possible problems. Each group will select a spokesperson to present their issue to the class. Each member of the group is expected to help define the group’s issue. As a class, the students will discuss, in a nonconfrontational manner, all of the groups’ ideas and reach consensus regarding the single most pressing issue the school faces.

1. Introduce the assignment by asking the questions, “What would your ideal school look like? What changes would have to be made to our school to make it like that ideal school?”
2. Place students in cooperative groups.
3. Review brainstorming procedures.
4. Instruct students to develop a list of problems the school faces.
5. Distribute Peer Assessment Rubric and discuss procedural issues with the class.
6. Define consensus and the process of coming to consensus as a group.
7. In small groups, discuss the topics brainstormed and select one issue to present as the most pressing issue the school faces.
8. Present each group's issue to the entire class and allow time for class discussion.
9. Facilitate class discussion of all the topics presented and help bring the class to consensus on the most pressing issue.


The assessment is two-fold: peer assessment and self assessment. The students use the Peer Assessment Rubric provided in the attached file to evaluate the members in their cooperative group.

Self Assessment
In a paragraph, write a reflection that answers the following questions.
-What were your positive contributions to your group's discussions?
-Were there any speakers with whom you disagreed? If so, how did you address your feelings? Was that the best way to handle the disagreement?
-What did you learn about group discussion and consensus building?
*Remember to use complete sentences and proper mechanics to express your ideas.


Take the issue the class has selected as the most important one and present that issue to the school Advisory Council. Recommend the steps necessary to facilitate change.

Attached Files

The Peer Assessment Rubric for the activity.     File Extension: pdf

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