The 7th Grade class doubles in size each year, as the community welcomes new students and families into the MICDS community. What’s the best way to start the class off for the year? Team-building exercises in the MAC! It’s the first of a series of activities designed to help the class follow the 7th Grade advisory themes throughout the year: getting to know yourself, your peers and your community; growing together: it’s okay to change; and universe of obligation: what is my contribution, what do I bring and how do I matter.
Rachel Maurer, P.E. Teacher and 7th Grade Advisor, explains, “In the 7th Grade we make sure to build community right away since almost half of the students are new. We want everyone to feel known, be a part of something bigger than themselves and learn how to navigate school with their peers and teachers supporting them. More specifically, we do these team building activities in our advisory groups to help create that strong bond among our advisory families. With these activities, they learn everyone’s names, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Students are also able to look within and gain insight on their own strengths, leadership skills and areas they can improve. Finally, it gives each advisory a chance to build relationships, learn how they work as a group and talk about how they will and can rely and lean on each other throughout the year. We use debriefing questions to discuss how we can celebrate all of the leadership skills that everyone brings to the table and also talk about areas in which we can improve on as a group.”
Students formed teams by advisory and got to know each other better by participating in games like the old standby Duck, Duck, Goose! and activities like the Human Knot, where students clasp hands in a group and then try to untangle themselves. Other activities included Crossing the River, Helium Hula Hoop, All Hands In, Peek-A-Boo Who, Holes in a Tarp and Electric Fence.
“With the class growing so dramatically this year, we want to encourage students to get to know each other outside of their usual groups, whether those groups are formed by current students or students who came from other schools together. Our advisories are intentionally set up to foster a feeling of community and new friendships, and these activities encourage relationship building quickly, setting a good foundation for the rest of the school year,” said Charlotte Dougherty, 7th Grade Class Dean. At the end of the year, the class plans an overnight camping trip, a bookend to three trimesters of growing closer and creating bonds that will last through the Upper School.