On September 17-18, YIS 7th and 8th graders embarked on Project One School with their trademark energy and enthusiasm. Their mission was to design, organize and pitch an idea to bring YIS together as One School: to build community, team spirit and to engage in interdisciplinary learning.
Working in mixed grade-level groups, the students spent two days developing their own schedules to ensure that their idea could come to fruition before presenting it to the judges. Over the course of two days, students put into practice many Approaches to Learning skills integral to the MYP, including communication and collaboration. Students worked together to create a budget for their projects, estimating financial needs and other resources.
Adam Clark, Middle School Counselor, led students in a session on resiliency and overcoming obstacles, focusing on the 40 Developmental Assets. To explore these qualities, students created videos demonstrating how they would be put into practice. Students were able to make use of these assets as they faced the challenge of working in small groups to achieve a goal in a limited time frame.
At the end of the second day, students pitched their ideas to an audience including six other groups, a grade 6 class and two expert judges--a challenging task! The pitches were fantastic: practiced, thorough and enthusiastic. The judges chose three winning ideas which will be put into place thanks to a generous PTSA grant. The winning groups will work with teachers to help their ideas become reality and bring YIS closer together as One School.
When asked about the best parts of the project, students said they enjoyed getting to work with people they don't normally interact with, being in charge of their own time and their own learning. They identified challenges such as knowing how to use their time well, agreeing on one way to do things and, in true middle school spirit, 'trying not to laugh.'
A few students, Sara, Sophie, and Lukus, shared their thoughts on the process on their YIS Blogs.