Building community one day at a time

Middle Schoolers took a break from regular classes on Wednesday to take part in the MS community building day, a chance to get to know their peers and learn about new topics.

Instead of doing Math, Science and English, the students and teachers participated in several activities, including rock-climbing, forest walks, photography challenges, dance, fitness circuit, nutritional food preparation, theatre lighting, Zumba, bridge-building, yoga, forest reading, interactive media, adaptive games, ultimate frisbee, and more. The day also served as a sort of taster session for the Personal Learning choice modules that students will be taking later in the semester, as some of the fun activities will be offered as Personal Learning modules.

In total, there were twenty-one activities, separated into three categories: Activity, Creativity, and Health and Wellness. These three categories help students to become well-rounded, healthy individuals. They also gave students a chance to try new activities, games, sports, art techniques, relaxation methods....

The following are examples of the activities that could be found in the three different categories.

In Activity, one of the options was ultimate frisbee. The students were introduced to the sport, which for many people was completely new, and worked in teams to try to win the games that had been organized. None of the students acted selfishly - everyone participated as a team, and they all did a tremendous work by discussing and communicating with each other.

For the Creativity part of the day, one of the options was visual art, where students had a chance to express their creativity with graffiti art. When asking a student about this "class" their response was: 'We are free to express our thoughts, and share them with others in a non-traditional way.' One of the students even sang while drawing, because for them it was a chance to relax. We saw how some of the sessions could have overlapped into other categories - for this student, art helped her mentally unwind, and therefore contributed to her overall health.

In the Health and Wellness section one of the options was board games. Middle School students played various boardgames with people they had maybe never spoken to, and in doing so, created new friendships and worked on their teamwork skills. There were games that were new to many, and they played with enthusiasm and engagement.

Overall, the day was a great chance to learn new skills and meet new people, and ultimately to set the tone for a year of collaboration and exploration in the MS learning community. Now that the students have been introduced to these courses they are are eagerly awaiting the personal learning modules that will start later this year.

Photos from the day:

Article written and photos taken by the Grade 7 and 9 News Teams as part of the MS Community Building Day