As we near the end of our first quarter, I am grateful for how much of our school program we have been able to offer our students. At the same time, the restrictions of COVID have necessitated many changes, some of them quite difficult. This week, we saw a great example of how our educators are responding to this need for change by re-thinking and re-visiting some of our signature programs.
Traditionally, at the start of the year, our middle school students participate in Classroom Without Walls (CWW). This is an experience that extends student learning beyond the four walls of a classroom, through unique challenges on trips to Malaysia, Indonesia, and islands off Singapore. The loss of CWW this year has been painful for the middle school, but they turned that sense of loss into an opportunity.
With no ability this fall to venture outside the school, the middle school had to re-invent a new opportunity for team building and personal growth in a set of on campus-experiences, in effect in classrooms with physical walls. Through lots of ingenuity and creativity, the middle school team created a set of fun and engaging team-building opportunities this week in our first-ever middle school Eagle Days.
Eagle Days have featured Amazing Race challenges, group percussion, improv drama, disaster rescue planning, spaghetti and marshmallow tower-building, and showtime games. The activities had two main themes—have fun and learn to work better as teams. Each activity challenged students to work together in different ways—to plan together, to listen and follow one another, to compare and improve on individual solutions, and to adjust to changes in circumstances. As one student explained about her team’s success, “We learned to shift from ‘No, but’ to ‘Yes, and’ in our conversations, and that really helped us.”
At the start of the year, we emphasized with students, parents and educators that our top priority this year would be social, emotional, and physical health. The kind of fun, energetic and team-based activities during Eagle Days are great examples of how we can help promote that social-emotional health.
A huge thank you to our middle school team for your creativity and thoughtfulness!