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Mrs. Estes AMI - Snow Days Assignments

Snow Days 1-5 please complete the AMI Packet below. The packet is designed to promote communication skills.


To view as PDF Click Here: Mrs. Estes AMI Packet




Communication skills are ranked FIRST among a job candidate’s “must have” skills and qualities, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Communication skills are important to everyone - they are how we give and receive information and convey our ideas and opinions with those around us. Communication comes in many forms:

• verbal (sounds, language, and tone of voice)

• aural (listening and hearing)

• non-verbal (facial expressions, body language, and posture)

• written (journals, emails, blogs, and text messages)

 • visual (signs, symbols, and pictures)


 It is important to develop a variety of skills for both communicating TO others and learning how to interpret the information received FROM others. Knowing our audience and understanding how they need to receive information is equally important as knowing ourselves.

To an employer, good communication skills are essential. In fact, employers consistently rank good communication skills at the top of the list for potential employees.

During an interview, for example, employers are impressed by a job candidate who answers questions with more than one-word answers (such as yeah…nah…dunno), demonstrates that he or she is listening, and shares information and ideas (by asking questions for clarification and/or follow-up). The interview can be an indication to employers of how the candidate or employee will interact with supervisors, co-workers, and customers or resolve conflicts when they arise. Remember, non-verbal communication is also critical in an interview. Employers expect good eye contact, good posture, and “active” listening.

One of the challenges in the workplace is learning the specific communication styles of others and how and when to share your ideas or concerns. Though some supervisors may specifically ask for your opinion, others may assume if there is something important they need to know, you will bring it to their attention – or if there is something you are unsure about, you will ask. Knowing how to listen carefully and when to ask for help is important. If an employee and a supervisor learn to communicate well (in whatever method that works), there is a greater likelihood of job retention and promotion.

The activities in this section will not only help participants practice and recognize how they provide information to others, but also help them consider how others may prefer to receive information. It is important to reinforce with participants that communication skills involve give and take – and they can, indeed, be learned and strengthened over time.



Day 1 What's Your Point?

JUST THE FACTS: This activity helps participants understand the importance of being specific when offering and receiving communication. Often times our meaning gets lost, twisted, or misunderstood because we haven’t been specific enough in our communication or we haven’t asked clarifying questions. These role plays are designed to demonstrate the value of being specific in communication…TO others and in what is received FROM others.


Each skit requires two people: one employee and one supervisor. Participants are encouraged to ad-lib, or improvise.

 In the first role play, Jade has a job mowing lawns and receives some not-so-positive feedback from Mr. Z., a client.

 In the second role play, Will works at a dentist’s office and has gotten into some trouble with his boss, Ms. T.

After each skit is read, consider the following questions:

• Role Play #1: How did Jade handle Mr. Z.’s comments? What did she do right? Was there anything she could have done differently? What about Mr. Z.? What could he have done differently?

• Role Play #2: How do you think Ms. T. handled the situation with Will’s lateness? How did Will handle Ms. T.’s disapproval? What might he have done differently? What might Ms. T. have done differently?


In either of these role-play situations, the employee could have “copped an attitude” or gotten defensive with the adult. Reread one or both of the activities and act out the situation differently. What would it have looked and sounded like if Jade had not demonstrated such a mature attitude? What would it have looked and sounded like if Will hadn’t offered a suggestion for his situation?

Because each employee remained calm and asked additional questions to get clarity about each situation, he/she was able to communicate with the other person – and clearly identify the problem.

Is this easy or difficult for you to do in most situations? If it’s easy, what are some strategies you use that help you to “keep your cool”? If it’s difficult, what might you try to do differently?

Journaling Activity (All journaling activities should be at least 1/2 page)

Write a summary discussing how each person in the two skits handled the situation and how good communication helped them to solve the situations.  Also, think about a time when a parent, teacher, or friend criticized you. What happened? How did this make you feel? How did you handle it? Are you proud of the way you handled it? What might you do differently if something like this happens in the future? Did this experience change the way you offer feedback to others?

Activity--What’s Your Point?


Scenario: Jade has her first job mowing lawns. She works for her best friend’s brother who owns a landscaping company. She’s had the job for about three weeks and really feels like she’s getting into the groove. In fact, it’s the perfect job for her: she loves being outside and appreciates the fact that she can work on her own and even listen to her MP3 player! Jade arrives early at Mr. Z.’s house (her first customer of the day) and gets ready to begin mowing.

Mr. Z.:      You’re finally here!

Jade:                  Hi, Mr. Z. Yes, I’m here to mow your lawn.

Mr. Z.:      Well, you didn’t do a very good job last week.

Jade:        I wasn't the person who mowed your lawn, but I'd like to hear why you were unhappy with the job.

Mr. Z.:             It was just a mess!

Jade:        Can you please be more specific? What exactly didn't you like? In what way was it a mess?

Mr. Z.:      Well, it looked just awful.

Jade:        I really want to make sure that whatever upset you last time doesn't happen again. If you will tell me exactly what you want done differently in the future, it will really help me to be sure your lawn is mowed just the way you like it.

Mr. Z.:             Well, the cut grass was left on the lawn, and the edges weren’t straight.

Jade:        Okay, let me be sure I understand. Besides mowing, you want us to be sure to rake up, remove the cut grass, and be more careful to straighten the edging.

Mr. Z.:      Yes, that is exactly what I expect!

Jade:        Thanks, Mrs. Z. I'll be sure to do those things today, and I will let the boss know that's what you'd like done from now on.

Mr. Z.:             Thank you very much.

Activity--What’s Your Point?


Scenario: Will works in a large dental office and winds up rushing to get to work every day after school. His job tasks include filing, making photocopies, stuffing envelopes, and answering the telephone. Ms. T, the office manager, has asked to speak with Will about his time sheet.

Ms. T.:      Hello, Will. I would like to talk with you.

Will:                     Yes, Ms. T.?

Ms. T.:             Will, I’ve been watching your time this week, and I’m quite concerned.

Will:         Ms. T., I see that you’re not happy, but will you please be more specific?

Ms. T.:             You’re not getting here on time.

Will:         I know I’ve been arriving to work late, and I am sorry.

Ms. T.:             Well, look at your time today. You were supposed to be here at 3:15 this afternoon and it's now 3:30 and you just walked in. We need to be able to depend on you to be here at the time you're scheduled to work.

Will:                    I understand that you expect me to be here on time. I'm getting here as quickly as I can after school. Would it be possible to change my start time to 3:30? I can put in the extra 15 minutes at the end of the workday instead.

Ms. T.:             Well, I suppose we can try that. Are you absolutely sure that you can make it here every day be 3:30?

Will:                    I'm sorry that I've been getting here late and upsetting you. I really do think that I can be here every day by 3:30, but if for some reason I can't make it here by that time, I will be sure to call to let you know.

Mrs. T.:     That would be very helpful. Thank you, Will.



Day 2 Flipping the Switch


The purpose of this activity is to encourage youth to discuss the different types of communication they might use in different situations and environments. It introduces the idea that language/communication varies by context – and that it’s important to understand what might be acceptable and expected in one setting may not be appropriate in another.



Think about how you communicate with your friends. Do you communicate differently with your family? How do you think you will communicate with an employer at a job interview?


• Why is each situation different?

• What are the expectations of each person?

• What would happen if you greeted your friends in the way you greeted an interviewer?

• What would happen if you greeted an interviewer the same way you greet your friends?


Knowing how to communicate with people in the right context for a given situation is an important skill, as there are often unspoken rules and standards that are just expected. For example, it’s common practice in the professional world to shake hands with people when meeting, rather than offering a high-five or a hug. We might use slang with our friends when talking about what happened at school or at a party, but we would usually use different words and mannerisms when telling our parents the same information.


Use Activity 2 to compare and contrast the differences in how we might share the same type of information to different groups.


Journaling Activity (All journaling activities should be at least 1/2 page)


We all communicate differently with different people in our lives. Does the way you communicate (or say things) affect how others perceive you? Explain.


Activity--Flipping the Switch


Consider the following situations. Create a list, discuss, draw a picture, or encourage participants to act out the different ways one might communicate with each of the following groups:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Professional (Interviewer, Employer, Teacher, etc.)


Be sure to explore BOTH verbal language (what we say and how we say it, i.e., tone of voice) and non-verbal language (facial expressions, behavior, body language, etc.)




Situation 1: Saying hello or goodbye

Friends: ______________________________________________________________________________

Family: _______________________________________________________________________________

Professional: __________________________________________________________________________

Situation 2: Asking for help

Friends: ______________________________________________________________________________

Family: _______________________________________________________________________________

Professional: __________________________________________________________________________

Situation 3: Emailing or texting

Friends: ______________________________________________________________________________

Family: _______________________________________________________________________________

Professional: __________________________________________________________________________

Situation 4: Showing excitement

Friends: ______________________________________________________________________________

Family: _______________________________________________________________________________

Professional: __________________________________________________________________________

Situation 5: (Create your own)

Friends: ______________________________________________________________________________

Family: _______________________________________________________________________________

Professional: __________________________________________________________________________



Day 3 Oh, Puh-leeeeeeeeeze!


The purpose of this activity is to help youth gain a better understanding of how non-verbal communication (both intended and unintended) can be interpreted by others...and the impact and effect of this form of communication.




Have you ever gotten caught rolling your eyes at a teacher, parent, co-worker, or supervisor? Whether you rolled your eyes intentionally or didn’t even realize you did it, how do you think your action was interpreted?


There are all types of communication. Believe it or not, the type that uses no words is the kind that is the most important. When it comes to communication, what people SEE is often more memorable than what they read or hear. This is often referred to as body language. Body language includes facial expressions, eye behavior, gestures, posture, and more. Body language can express your emotions, feelings, and attitudes. It can even contradict what you say verbally! People in different cultures may understand some global non-verbal expressions, while other expressions may be culture specific.


Consider the following seven types of non-verbal signals and cues we often use to communicate our interest in and to others. Create a list of Do’s and Don’ts for avoiding common body language mistakes on the job.


1.        Facial expressions: The human face is extremely expressive, able to convey countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of non-verbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.


2.        Body movements and posture:  Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a lot of information to the world. This type of non-verbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and subtle movements.


3.        Gestures:  We wave, point, plead, and often use our hands when we are arguing or speaking in an animated way. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.


4.        Eye contact: Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of non-verbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for assessing another person’s response.


5.        Touch: We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given by the following: a firm handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring pat on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.


6.        Space: Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, situation, and closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different non-verbal messages, including signals of intimacy, aggression, dominance, or affection.


7.        Voice:  We communicate with our voices, even when we are not using words. Non-verbal speech sounds such as tone, pitch, volume, inflection, rhythm, and rate are important communication elements. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. These non-verbal speech sounds provide subtle but powerful clues into our true feelings and what we really mean. Think about how tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.


Journaling Activity (All journaling activities should be at least 1/2 page)

Many people dream of being successful, but their actions can sometimes hold them back. Write a summary describing some ways you can be sure that your actions help you to achieve your goals in life? Include your list of "Do's and Don'ts for Avoiding Common Body Language Mistakes on the Job" that you made earlier in this lesson.



Day 4 Listen Hear!


This quick activity is designed to get participants to start thinking about the importance of two-way communication.


Ask a family member to help you with this exercise. Give them a sheet of paper and read the following directions, pausing after each instruction to give them time to comply (complete the activity yourself using your own sheet of paper).

1.            Pick up your sheet of paper and hold it in front of you. Close your eyes and listen carefully to my directions. The rules are: (1) no peeking and (2) no questions.

2.            The first think I want you to do is to fold your sheet of paper in half. (Pause)

3.            Now, tear off the upper right hand corner. (Pause)

4.            Fold the paper in half again and tear off the upper left hand corner of the sheet. (Pause)

5.            Fold it in half again. (Pause)

6.            Now tear off the lower right-hand corner of the sheet. (Pause)

After all tearing is complete, say: "Now, open your eyes and unfold your paper."

Compare the sheets. Do they match? If not, why do they not?

Journaling Activity (All journaling activities should be at least 1/2 page)

Part of the communication process (and being a good communicator) is recognizing that people may need to receive information in different ways in order to be successful. Create a definition for "Good Communication" by thinking about what good communication looks like. Be sure the list includes the responsibilities of being a good communicator and a good listener.

Think of a time when you could have been a better communicator or a better listener. Describe the situation. What happened? What is more important--communicating in a way that is easy for you or communicating in a way so that others can understand you? Is there a difference? Explain.


Day 5 Workplace Ethics


We all have our own set of values or standards of behavior that we operate by on a daily basis. However, we may not always feel we can apply these same principles or standards while at work. The purpose of this lesson is to help participants learn some of the steps necessary to make ethical decisions on the job.


How do you make decisions? Is decision-making a skill that was taught to you? Do you have personal rules for decision-making? If you have rules, do these rules change if you are making decisions at home, at school, with friends, or at work?

Now, let's discuss ethics. What are ethics? Ethics on the job often deal with a code of conduct or a set of principles for BOTH the employer and the employee.

A list of work ethics for an employer or a company might be:

  • To provide a safe work environment for staff and employees
  • To treat employees with dignity and respect
  • To provide a fair wage for the services rendered
  • To handle all business transactions with integrity and honesty

A list of work ethics for an employee might include:

  • To show up on time
  • To tend to company business for the whole time while at work
  • To treat the company's resources, equipment, and products with care
  • To give respect to the company; that means honesty and integrity

Four-Step Process for Making Ethical Decisions at Work:

  1. Define the problem (or ethical situation).
  2. List the facts that appear to be most significant to the decision (and consider who is affected).
  3. List two or three possible solutions (and how these solutions could impact each person).
  4. Decide on a plan of action. (Also, consider how will you know if your decision was the right one?)

Activity--Workplace Ethics: Case Studies

For each of the following case studies, assume you are employed by a large computer company, with approximately 1,000 employees. The company is located in Fayetteville. Read each case study and follow the four steps for making ethical decisions.

Case 1: LaKeisha is an administrative assistant in the Human Resources Department. Her good friend Michael is applying for a job with the company and has agreed to be a reference for him. Michael asks for advice on preparing for the interview. LaKeisha has the actual interview questions asked of all applicants and considers making him a copy of the list so he can prepare.

Case 2: Emily works in the Quality Control Department. Once a year, her supervisor gives away the company’s used computers to the local elementary school. The company does not keep records of these computer donations. Emily really needs a computer. Her supervisor asks her to deliver 12 computers to the school.


Case 3: Marvin is an assistant in the Building Services Department. He has just received a new work computer and is excited to try it out. His supervisor has a strict policy about computer usage (for business purposes only), but Marvin wants to learn the email software. He figures one good way to do this is to send emails to his friends and relatives until he gets the hang of it. He has finished all of his work for the day and has 30 minutes left until his shift is over. His supervisor left early.


Case 4: Jennie was recently hired to work as a receptionist for the front lobby. As receptionist, she is responsible for making copies for the people in her office. Her son, Jason, comes in and needs some copies for a school project. He brought his own paper and needs 300 copies for his class. If he doesn’t bring the copies with him, he will fail the project. The company copier does not require a security key, nor do they keep track of copies made by departments.


Journaling Activity (All journaling activities should be at least 1/2 page)

Share your decision making process for each of the four cases.