I recently gathered all seventh-grade students during the Advisory Plus period to begin a series of workshops on building community in the Middle School.
I opened the session engaging students in a conversation exploring aspects of identity, followed by students creating their own "identity cells." Students had an opportunity to share both joys and pains related to their identities. The group acknowledged hurtful comments that they have experienced and, most importantly, brainstormed ways to respond to such comments.
I worked with the students to come up with tools for responding in a positive way, and reminded them that this conversation is just the start as we all work together to be a middle school where all feel comfortable and safe to be themselves. The sixth and eighth-graders will be scheduled to engage in this same workshop in the coming weeks.