Community Time

Multi-grade groups of diverse students meet weekly to hang out, form relationships, and bond with each other .

Photo of Megan Vosk
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In our middle school, we wanted to focus on building and improving kids & teachers relationships.  We wanted  to try to get away from the "let's do an activity" mindset to more of a "let's all hang out and talk to each other" mindset.  So, we started Community Time. Community Time happens once a week and the goal of Community Time is to have a space where students have room to talk to about their problems, concerns,  and questions with a group - or to share them with a teacher for follow-up later. The kids are in multi grade groupings (6th-8th grade), and there are about 10 kids in each group with 1 teacher leader. We do a team building activity every week to help kids feel more comfortable with their community members. Then, each group does some sort of reflection or sharing activity aimed at fostering empathy and understanding. For example, last week, each kid chose their favorite quote, and then they went around in a circle and shared  with each other.  It's been a nice way to foster a sense of MS community, and to encourage kids to talk to each other and hear each other's perspectives in a non academic setting.

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Photo of Megan McMahon
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Hi Megan, so nice to be able to have that time! one year my school had an advisory period with small groups like this and it was such a great way to really get to know students. How do you structure the conversations to create empathy? Do you have have a framework so that other schools could replicate this if they wanted to do something similar? If so would be interesting to see it, possibly shared out in a google doc?

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