Activities and Exercises

For a list of activities and exercises relevant to how you interact with students please choose a resource category from the drop down menu below. Please note that some of the activities may provide instructions/faciltiation notes that refer to use in the classroom or some other specific setting (i.e. career). Many of these activities have been categorized more broadly because they can be easily adapted to fit other settings. Please also note that many of these activities will require you to authenticate using your x.500 while some are available to the general public.

Three specific resources are highlighted below that are especially helpful in 1:1 sessions with students.

If you have strengths activities that you have developed and you are willing to share, please email them, with facilitation notes included, to strengths@umn.edu.

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Please select a category to view the available resources

Advising

  • This document contains 60 different ideas for Strengths-based activities you could use with students. The majority of these activities work best in group situations versus 1:1 situation such as advising or career counseling/ coaching. The activities can take as little as 60 seconds or up to 60 minutes to complete.

  • Academic Action Items
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    In this activity, students continue to move from reflection and evaluation to application and apply theme-specific strategies to achieve academic success. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Academic Action Items II
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    This activity asks student to look at all the academic action items rather than focusing on the specific sections. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Career Exploration Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Career Exploration' video or on its own to use your Strengths to explore careers.

  • Class Selection
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    This activity shows how to apply knowledge of their talents and strengths to decision making - specifically choosing classes. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Degrees of Talent/ Owning My Strengths
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    This activity asks students to recognize the personal difficulties associated with affirming their own themes of talent.

  • Envisioning Excellence
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    This activity asks students to define excellence in their academic lives.

  • Five Clues to Academic Talent
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    In this activity, students are asked to consider five questions designed to unearth revealing clues about talent and evaluate their general academic goals in light of their talents and strengths, as well as other personal qualities and external considerations.

  • Get Engaged (On & Off Campus) Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Get Engaged' Video or on its own to learn more about ways to use your Top 5 to find engagement opportunities that are a good fit for you!

  • How Do I Use My Top 5 Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Myth Smashing' video or on its own to learn more about the Strengths philosophy, the StrengthsFinder assessment and your own Top 5

  • I Do it With Ease
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    In this activity, students begin to move from reflection and evaluation to application and apply theme-specific strategies to achieve academic success.

  • Intensify Strength
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    This activity will help students begin to actively develop their talent.

  • International Students Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: International Students' video or on its own  to learn more about the Strengths philsophy and how to use your Strengths as a international student at the U of M.

  • Is There A Shadow Side to a Strengths-Based Perspective?
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    This activity asks students to consider the implications to the application of talents in a negative way.

  • Job Searching Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Job Searching' video or on its own to find ways to use Strengths in your resume, cover letter, interviewing, job search, and elevator pitch.

  • Join the Club
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    This activity assists students in evaluating academic and cocurricular opportunities in light of their talents and strengths. This activity is a great tool for advisors or career counselors.

  • Major Exploration Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Major Exploration' video or on its own to learn more about how to use your Strengths during the major exploration process.

  • Making the Most of Your Engagement Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Making the Most of Your Engagement' video or on its own to find ways to use your Strengths to lead stronger and get the most out of your engagement on and off campus.

  • Moving Beyond Barrier Labels
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    This activity is designed to help students think about how they can maximize the positive nature of talents by managing the barrier labels that people often place upon talents.

  • Myth Smashing Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Myth Smashing' video or on its own to learn more about the Strengths philosophy, the StrengthsFinder assessment and your own Top 5

  • NACADA Academic Advising for Student Retention and Persistence: A Strengths Development Approach
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    "A Strengths Development Approach" Webinar handout. This activity will be discussed during the broadcast, and if possible, Webinar participants are encouraged to spend a few minutes considering the possibilities for their own lives.

  • Realizing My Potential
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    This activity helps students integrate the elements of strength development: talent, skills, and knowledge. Specifically, students identify what talents, skills, and knowledge are required to complete three tasks. This process will help students begin to develop a model of how they can consciously apply their talents to develop strength.

  • Relationships and Teams Video
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Relationships and Teams' video or on its own to learn how you can use your Strengths in your partnerships with others.

  • Secret of My Success
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    This activity asks students to identify examples of how their themes of talent have contributed to past success.

  • Setting Your Academic Course
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    This activity asks students to evaluate their general academic goals in light of their talents and strengths, as well as other personal qualities and external considerations.

  • Strengths + Engagement=Finding Your Major
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    This workbook helps students connect strengths to engagement opportunities and then to majors. The exercise could be used in classes, advising appointments, career counseling appointments, or students could do the series of activities on their own.

  • Strengths Mentoring Protocol for Counselors and Advisors
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  • Strengths Presentation Assignment
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    This assignment was created for an ESL course at the U of M, but it could be adapted for many different types of courses. Students create a presentation about how they will use their strengths in their college experience or career, or they can discuss how their culture views strengths and how this has impacted the development of their own top 5.

  • StrengthsQuest Handout 2011
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    An introduction to StrengthsQuest with a helpful list of next steps to make use of Strengths resources at the U. Also includes reflection questions.

  • Studying and Academic Success Guide
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    This Guide can be used along with the 'Studying and Academic Success' video or on its own for tips about how to use your Strengths to make the most out of your study time, as well as how you can use your Strengths to achieve your academic goals.

  • Talent Development
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    In this activity, students are asked to consciously create a strategy to develop one of their Signature Themes. It is imperative that the instructor provide students with timely feedback concerning their efforts to develop their talents.

  • Talent, Theme, and Strength
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    This activity helps students understand and develop a common language in which they can discuss natural talents and the development and application of strength.

  • Talent-Based Studying
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    In this activity, students continue to move from reflection and evaluation to application and appreciate the role their talents and strengths play in making them their own best educator and learner.