Junior Highs Focus on Bringing Students Together

Junior Schools Focus on Bringing Students Together
Posted on 08/20/2019
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photo collage of Plains students on first dayBuilding relationships is key at Lakota’s four junior schools. After all, students are coming together for the first time from several different elementary buildings.

Plains Junior packed the first two days of school with culture building activities. Students had a chance to visit their classrooms and meet their teachers and classmates, but most of the day was spent rotating through fun activities. Ice breaker games like “Guess Who?” had students laughing as they asked each other questions, trying to figure out what was on the card taped to their back. Another game called “Where Do You Stand?” had staff members pose questions such as “Do you prefer Math or English?” and students went to different sides of the gym based on their answer. The activity helped students learn more about each other.

One of the most popular activities was a Scavenger Hunt featuring stations throughout the building. Many stations included videos from staff about their roles at Plains as well as a fun fact about them. “This was a great way to help students to get to know staff members (such as the secretary, the guidance counselor and the custodian) and what they can do for them,” said Plains Principal Kim Wade. It lets students know that we are all here for them.” 

Stations also included stops in classrooms where teachers presented the students with challenges like minute-to-win-it games and yoga poses to perform, all promoting teamwork. A Chromebook activity helped students set up their computers, and a Flipgrid (a video discussion platform) activity allowed students to make videos to introduce themselves. Later, time was given to watch videos of fellow team members to help learn more about each other.

There were also team meetings discussing school culture and what Plains should be, and students worked on their personal “Hopes and Dreams” about what their goals are and how to accomplish them.

“Starting off the first two days likes this helps to release some of the anxiety with starting school, especially for the incoming seventh-graders,” said Principal Wade. “The activities help students get connected with their peers and bridge the gap of coming from two different schools to come together as one.”

Eighth-graders Fianna Finkes and Chloe Crooks agree. “This is a much less nerve-wracking way to start school! Getting to know each other is important.”