Here are some materials to stimulate reflection and discussion in assemblies. Note – this is an old post and some material is dated and would need to be reviewed and updated. I no longer maintain this post to keep it current – but the general ideas suggested might still provide some support in planning assemblies.
“Merci!” by Christine Rabette.
A 5 minute video without dialogue. It shows the power a person has to change the mood and lift the spirits of others, through laughter – though symbolic of other effects in general. It’s lovely and makes a great assembly.
This is a bit of a tear-jerker. It gets me every single time. This is about sportsmanship, inclusion and the relative value of moments of success for different people.
Never, Ever Give Up. Arthur’s Inspirational Transformation.
This builds up nicely; a disabled veteran who thought he would never run again… but then started to do something about it with the help of a mentor. Leading to the final dash….
The McGurk Effect
The science is fascinating but the message is also helpful – ie that we simply cannot trust our senses alone. We need to ask questions about what we perceive and what we can remember.
Rory Sutherland Shreddies Advertising
This is very funny and the message in the last few seconds is worthwhile: We need to give more value to what we already have. Students love this…the interviews with people are real.
OK Go: This Too Shall Pass
I love this band and all of their one-take videos. This one is fun but also shows impressive dedication. It took over 60 attempts and several days to get right. This is a model of perseverance for artistic purposes. Check out all their other videos.
From my colleague Tim Worrall @musotim. The same script is used forwards and backwards. Very clever and interesting. Good for promoting languages.
We Think: A Charles Leadbeater animation
We are what we share. A great take on the modern world…good for Sixth Form but also all ages.
Awareness Test: Did you see the dancing bear?
Works brilliantly if the audience hasn’t seen it before.. Younger students? It’s the original and best of these.
Armstrong and Miller: RAF Pilots.
This is a great intro to an assembly about appropriate speech codes. It’s very funny – and having trawled the full back catalogue, this is only one without any swearing! It helps to give the message – Do you want to sound ridiculous, with speech that is not compatible with the context.
Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen
Classic comedy.. but easy to link into a message about privilege and being grateful for what we have. Has the effect of softening up with laughter before packing a punch with a moral message:
A life of Worthy Purpose
Powerpoint: The idea being that being ‘good’ or ‘worthy’ are difficult ideals. We are human and flawed. But we can certainly aim to live a life of worthy purpose, to do good in the world through our work and our relationships.
Poverty and Education: Is there a moral imperative to succeed in education?
This powerpoint is based on my experience in Indonesia but can be adapted for any school. The goal is to contrast the challenges faced by students in other parts of the world with our opportunities and also to see them as ordinary kids just like us.. they are people with hopes, ambitions and talents, just like us:
Inequality: The data tells an extraordinary story about inequality in the UK
Use this one slide from the Guardian as a visual to raise the issue of inequality and ask questions about solutions.
It’s always great to do assemblies about evolution; it’s such an amazing story. This powerpoint is a series of images highlighting all the different sources of evidence from fossils to DNA. It gives people in the know a laugh to see a passing South Park reference:
Here’s what happened when I gave this assembly in 2016 – it created quite a stir.
What does it mean to be British in 2015+?
I love this assembly. The powerpoint provides a range of images of British culture – sport, comedy, newspapers, poverty, royalty – giving you a backdrop for talking about the nebulous idea of Britishness. I like to start this assembly playing the fabulous Morrissey song, Irish Blood, English Heart. This is one person’s view of their cultural and national identity, rejecting the monarchy and other aspects of England but being proud of being English and ‘free’ – “I will die with both of my hands untied”. I’ve updated the original 2009 version to include images of the Olympics, the politicians who will feature in the 2015 general election and some slides to give a context for a direct exploration of the current debate about what it means to be a modern British Muslim. Feel free to download and edit it.
In Court; On Court
The story can be read out twice…and the message about context and privilege is strong.
The Awe and Wonder in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field as featured in this Awe post.
This image is the size of a postage stamp at 75 feet. It contains 10,000 objects, each of which is a galaxy. The red-shift tells us that some of these objects are so far away, the light left them close to the very beginning of time. The scale of the universe and the value of our planet as the home to humanity is a message we can’t give too often. It is always powerful.
The fairly well trodden Lessons from Geese
There is a lot of symbolic value in this, even though the science is disputed by some. I like it a lot.
An assembly about why rules matter and why it’s in everyone’s interests if we enforce them.
An assembly about problem solving and self-believe. Can it be done?
An assembly about needing to commit – and risk failure – in order to succeed.
I have actually done this assembly with a personal demo – of rip-sticking around the assembly hall having finally plucked up the courage. Risky but worth it.
This post links to some good material for a Christmas assembly.
A simply formula for revising – well worth using this for an assembly.
A set of superb images to discuss attitudes and study habits.
Let me know if you use them and tell me how it goes. I’ve got lots more where these came from… for another post.
My Shakespeare – Kate Tempest
Speaks for itself… powerful collection of the language from Shakespeare wrapped up in a fab Kate Tempest poem
My City – George the Poet
Excellent exploration of hidden poverty in wealthy London in George’s wonderfully engaging powerful style.