This week we are highlighting Advisory. Each morning, Advisory groups meet from 8:10-8:30 and are an important start to the day. As you will read, each group has different structures and objectives that unify each class and help them build a network of trust and support among their peers and advisors.
6th Year Advisory: Forming the Middle School Group
The 6th year advisory period consists of building a strong community and trust among one another. In order to achieve this vision of community and trust for the year, students have shared questions and concerns they face throughout their transition into middle school. Discussions consisting of how to balance homework, prioritize time efficiently, and respect for all have been covered in Advisory. Mr. Brown makes the students’ transitions into middle school as comforting as possible while promoting their accountability as students, peers, and members of the community.
In addition to using activities in the Responsive Advisory Curriculum, Mr. Brown forms the 6th grade group in creative ways. One example is Student Scrabble. 6th years used a Scrabble board to connect the students’ names. Then, almost like a crossword puzzle, the group developed a unique clue representing each of their personalities. Each student provided something different about one another to help develop their clues. Once everyone finished their boards, we attempted to solve them as a class. It was nice to see how some students were surprised to find some characteristics of themselves others saw in them.
It is clear that 6th Year Advisory is a crucial component to this important transition that students go through from elementary to middle school.
7th Year Advisory: Community Development
Each day, 7th years have a new topic to help them expand their thinking and build our FWM community. Students are assigned a role and rotate through responsibilities each week. The following are the topic titles for each day of the school week and an example of what they have already accomplished:
Monday (Weekend Update) – Students share news stories and current events about what is happening in the world. They have talked about the top box office films, sports games, the UN climate change summit, and the local fair in Durham, Connecticut.
Tuesday (Talk it Out Tuesday) – Students bring forward an open question that will spark conversation about who they are as community members. They have discussed how stress affects them in middle school, their greatest accomplishments, and the pets that bring them joy.
Wednesday (Work it Wednesday) – Students initiate a physical activity to start the morning advisory group. This is a chance to be creative together and play a fun game in hopes of building friendships among peers. They have played four corners, practiced morning yoga, answered a question ball, and followed along in Simon Says.
Thursday (Life on the Outside) – Students have an opportunity to share a skill or talent they practice outside of school. So far, 7th years have had guitar and violin performances, learned different ballet positions, learned how to bake chocolate brownies, and the important components of competitive horseback riding.
Friday (Fun Fridays) – Students can decompress from the busy school week and play a group cooperative board game together. They listen to each other’s favorite songs and share funny math jokes.
Students have expressed that this year’s advisory group is, “…fun and exciting to get to know my peers better.” Students have shared they, “…enjoy learning something new about my friends I might not have known before.” Some have said, “Advisory rotations are a calm and joyful way to start my day.”
The ultimate goal for 7th year advisory group this year is to build our community and be comfortable and confident working together.
8th Year Leadership
As 8th years, these are the oldest students at FWM. 8th Year Leadership is unique because it gives space for the eldest students to develop and run items like fundraisers, charitable events, Friday Morning Gathering, and the annual sweatshirt design, as well as discuss what is important in the school community.
This year, mornings are spent in many ways. First of all, they started the year discussing the students’ goals. What do they wish to achieve as 8th years? How do they want others to view them? What will this year’s projects look like? It was clear from the start that some of our advisory time would be spent reaching one, specific goal that holds importance for them.
This year’s group has a vested interest in raising funds to purchase a water bottle refilling station for the school. Their goal is to raise $5,000 over the course of the year. In only the second month of school, they have successfully raised just over $1,000 from their Name the Bunny fundraiser and their pumpkin painting station at this fall’s Oktoberfest.
Each week, 8th years also plan, write, and film for the Friday Morning Gathering that is attended by students in Lower El, Upper El, and the rest of Middle School. 8th years have a vision for how they want the meeting to go this year, so they work hard to execute their plan along with their other Leadership projects.
With continual fundraising and charitable events, 8th year advisory time is busy. Students have also begun reading Putting Peace First: 7 Commitments to Change the World by Eric David Dawson as a guide to being leaders and change-makers in their school community.
Without a doubt, 8th Year Leadership is important to the whole FWM community.