The 2018-2019 school year has officially started: Middle School clubs are up and running!
On Friday, our Middle School students gathered to survey almost two dozen (!) student- and faculty-sponsored clubs and activities, all of which will form part of their I Block choice-based programming throughout the semester. Through activities serious and playful, and as varied as Garden Club, Service Learning Club, Junior Classical League, Dungeons and Dragons, Yoga and Mindfulness, and Student Council, students have the opportunity to build friendships, collaborate and problem-solve with their peers, all while engaging in projects that reflect their unique interests and meet broader community needs.
Here’s a sampling of the opportunities our creative students and faculty sponsors have launched for the new school year!
On Tuesday, 6th and 7th grade students engaged in hands-on learning during Viewpoint’s Earthchella Week, an annual event designed to raise awareness of environmental sustainability.
After an introduction to the conservation activities taking place right in our immediate area, 6th grade students and advisors traveled across the street from Viewpoint’s campus to Headwaters Corner to learn about efforts to control invasive species (including these little crawfish below!) and to plant trees.
7th grade students learned about the types of contaminants that reach our local beaches from guest speaker Jim LaValley of Heal the Bay, then traveled with Upper School Heal the Bay Club leader Ben Moody and Middle School advisors to the Malibu Lagoon to engage in a beach cleanup, recording the types of trash they found in order to support Heal the Bay’s conservancy activities. A little friendly competition is always a plus, as the cleanup efforts ended with weighing teams’ collection bags to determine which group had collected the most trash!
As educators, we are always considering how we are creating opportunities for students to master the “Four C’s” of 21st century learning: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The implicit element that makes all of these meaningful for students, however, is engagement: Why does this matter? Who am I, and how can I make a difference in the world?
Seventh and eighth grade students are exploring these questions now through their Service and Advocacy elective class. With the goal of carrying out a project that will create positive change, students researched philanthropic organizations whose missions resonated with their own interests, presenting their findings in order to persuade their classmates to commit to partnering with their selected cause.
I had the pleasure of joining the class as students presented their “cases” (and research) to their peers through Google Slides presentations. Classmates listened in rapt attention as their peers introduced proposals to care for abandoned animals, to fight hunger, and to provide arts and enrichment to underserved communities, among others.
After careful review and consideration of a wide variety of worthy causes over two class meetings, the class voted to support the Foster Children’s Resource Center in Northridge. (To learn more about this organization, visit https://assistanceleaguela.org/program/foster-childrens-resource-center/.) In the coming months, the class will engage in on-site volunteer work with the organization, as well as contribute to the program through fundraising, including their recent bake sale.
We are so proud of your commitment to make a difference, and we look forward to hearing about your work with the Foster Children’s Resource Center!