On Saturday February 24th, around 40 students gathered in the Hall of Peace for our third Leadership Seminar. This time the focus was on inclusion activities and team building. We demonstrated the importance of team building by experiencing it ourselves and analyzing the elements of the activities. We stacked cups, found groups, dropped cardboard rolls into baskets as a team and had a rousing game of “4 on a couch”.The take-aways were wonderful and everyone had a great time. It was great to have Arjun P visiting from his new school in Thailand and we were so happy that he could join us. A special thank you to Ms. Kehe, Ms. Dunmire, Ms. Lockwood, Ms. Cullen and Mr. Webster for organizing the event. And, of course, thanks to Ms. Lockwood for her awesome photos that capture the fun!
Create Your Own Elective is a course that is self-directed by students. In this course, students had the opportunity to pursue their interests and develop projects that allowed them to showcase their passions. Students identified their interest, located resources to help them develop ideas about their interests, connected with others who share the same passions, created unique, personalized projects, and then, today, shared those projects with larger audiences. Students started their planning in August and today had a chance to share their hydraulic arm, their research on depression and their homemade castle. A big thanks to Ms. Gulati who worked with the students this semester while they pursued their passions. Also, thanks to Ms. Ahuja who took photos of the event!
This past Saturday after a night of dancing, ping pong, movies, food and winterland fun, around 60 students gathered in the Hall of Peace for our second leadership seminar of the year. This Leadership Seminar focused on servant leadership. Students discussed the role leaders take to serve others and how their efforts start with empathy. They engaged in many activities throughout the morning. A big thanks to our Leadership Seminar planners, Mr. Webster and Ms. Lockwood and our chaperones Ms. Takizawa, Ms. Hatten, Ms. Dunmire and Ms. Gamette. A great morning of learning and fun!
Our 8th graders sponsored the MS social this past weekend. Our theme was a winter wonderland, complete with fireplace, holiday movies, ping pong, dancing, a photo booth and an angel tree! A fun night was had by all!!
The Middle School Shanti concert was held on November 16th in the Theater. This annual event has always proven to be one of the musical highlights of the year and this year did not disappoint. A big thanks to all of our Middle School musicians and, of course, our teachers that led them! Mr. Boyadzhiev with the orchestra, Ms. Boyadzhieva with the choir and Ms. Bolton with the band. We appreciate all of their hard work in working with our students and bringing to life their musical potential.
Twice a month, MS students take an hour for Enrichment Time. We do a variety of activities at each grade level and the purpose of this time is to create community and work on our Advisory themes.
For 8th grade, the theme of the year is “I am a part of a larger something.” In the first quarter, they spent time developing the concept of individual advisories as “larger somethings.” They then moved on to talk about relationships that were part of slightly larger social circles. They also examined how they function as members of groups in classes and as students in the MS. Further, in the second quarter, they went on the WOW trip and examined relationships in the context of even larger circles: the camps and the eighth grade. Each person’s actions can have an impact on many people either positively (or negatively), and we can choose to ‘pay it forward’ to make an even bigger difference in the world:
As they continue to move forward and learn more about how to analyze the value and importance of our relationships, it’s important to recognize that they are also part of “larger somethings” of which they might not be aware. These are called Hidden Circles.
The following questions were posed to the 8th graders: Who are people in our Hidden Circles here at AES? Who works here, spends time on campus, does important things on a daily basis that help us to be the best learners we can be? From there, encourage the students to expose the “hidden circles” of the people that we interact with (or not), and help to take care of us here at AES.
Students spent today’s ET interviewing people in their Hidden circles, our gardeners, our cleaning staff, our guards, and our support staff. They also created posters introducing these important members of our community.
On October 11th and 12th, our middle schoolers, under the direction of Ms. Rogers put on the Fall Production, “30 Reasons Not to be in a Play”. Director, Ms. Rogers, writes:
” Although 30 Reasons Not to Be in a Play highlights the negatives of putting on a play, it really is a love song to the theater and demonstrates that -despite the pitfalls – it’s what we do because we love it.
It take a community to put on a play; what you will see in our play represents weeks of work by our actors, crew and a score of adults who so generously gave of their time. The technical design and work was done entirely by our student crew, supervised by supportive adults, our students have learned new skills and have taken proud ownership of this show. I’m grateful for the support of so many parents who have volunteered their time to sell tickets; I’m especially grateful for the work of our two acting coaches; Char Weiler and Amy Camp, because this show would not be up and running without their tireless, inspired and creative work with our students. You all are part of our community too. We hope you enjoy our offering and appreciaate all our reasons for NOT being in a play.”
Students in Ms. Capozzoli’s Speech and Debate class were charged with working on pausing, diction, emphasis and how to draw an audience back in that was quickly losing interest in their story or speech. They were also working on assessing the needs of their audience and how to tailor what they were saying so that it struck a chord with the audience. What better way to practice all of these things but go to a kindergarten classroom for reading time. Great practice and great fun had by all. The kids can’t wait to go back and the kindergarteners can’t wait to have them come back!!
70 students, lead by faculty facilitators Ms. Cullen, Ms. Lockwood and Mr. Webster came to the Middle School HOP on Saturday from 9-12 to learn more about the language of leadership. Students participated in a variety of activities around the power of verbal and non-verbal communication in leadership roles. Students were engaged in a variety of activities including role-plays and team building games that allowed their leadership skills to shine. Students reflected on the communication characteristics of a good leader and also debriefed one new thing they learned, one thing they reviewed and one hope of something they could continue to work on. This feedback will be used to inform future leadership seminars. Good learning and good fun!
This year’s Peace Day theme was “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, & Dignity for All”. Middle School students planned the week under the leadership of Ms. Al Moreno.
The founder of One Hen and the inspiration behind our Social Entrepreneurship class, Katie Milway Smith, joined the Middle School on Tuesday for a special assembly, where she talked about her program and read a story about Deo and his banana leaf ball.
Students spent time thinking about positive ways to promote respect, safety, and dignity for all by finding things that make them feel peaceful and thinking about how they can share these things with others, just as Deo, the character in Katie Milway Smith’s book did with soccer.
Todd Parr is the author of many books about inclusivity, peace, and taking pride in who you are as an individual. We used one of his books, The Peace Book, to also help with the purpose this week. Students read the book and then created a “piece of peace” drawing or saying that will be put together as a whole puzzle early next week.
On Friday, students and faculty also enjoyed some time together in many fun activities including, poetry, meditation, reading, making friendship bracelets, playing field games, hula hooping, and strategy games to name a few.
A wonderful week of celebrating Peace in the AES Middle School!