As the Service As Action Coordinator, I was always working on different ways to incorporate service within the school. Holidays and continuing programs were a great way of doing this and contributing to the community, and my students were really starting to do this on their own with only minimal guidance. They came up with so many good ideas, and it was absolutely amazing. Listed here are the different programs and events that they contributed to or created on their own (with support of the teaching staff).
PBIS: MYP Teams – GEMS
Grade 9 students (in 2018) were inspired to create a program for their classmates that could help build the school community. In doing this, they inadvertently created their own system of positive behaviour interventions and supports (PBIS). This program, which was initially inspired by the Hogwarts Houses in the Harry Potter series, split the MYP students into four separate teams, having them work together on different projects. Students in Grade 9 developed the program’s initial set of guidelines while an essential agreement was developed by Grades 6 and 7 that all students were strongly encouraged follow.
Monthly Games Days: GEMS Captains were responsible for organising and running monthly games days where students could do multiple activities: sports, tabletop games, trivia, and water games. Every games day had points associated with it, which would be awarded to every team and the VIP (decided by the team members) from each team.
Project #1: T-Shirt Design and Print Plan: Students from each team designed the shirts that they would wear during the Monthly Games Days. They would also work together to find the ‘most cost effective’ way of having their shirts produced; the team with the ‘most cost effective’ method would have their service selected, and all team shirts would be printed there.
School Newspaper: The school newspaper was developed as part of the curriculum in Grade 9’s English Language and Literature course during the unit ‘Evolution of Media’. It consists of multiple columns, including but not limited to: Students of the Month, Suggestions, Events, and various other stories about events around the school and in the community.
Peer Tutoring: As part of the Individuals & Societies unit “How We Contribute to Society,” students in Grade 9 were tasked with developing a peer tutoring program that would consider the needs of students and the goals of the program. They developed an outline for the goals of the program (the tutors and students) and guidelines for both parties.
Project LIT is a grassroots literacy movement that encourages and empowers readers across the globe. It started, originally, as a response to book deserts and the lack of diversity of texts available in schools in the United States. As part of the English Language & Literature curriculum for Grade 7, students set up a Book Club to help influence the choices made in the school to increase access to more diverse books. The Book Club was to host events at the school, including: Student-Led Book Orders, ‘Tea Time’, Library Donations, Community Book Reviews, and developing connections to ‘sister’ schools.
Art and Design Library Card Contest: As part of the book club, all students participated in the contest and advertised it to their peers. The contest was to submit designs for the library card that would be used by the students for the MYP/DP Library. The student body would vote for their favourite.
Student-Led Book Orders:Students wanted more agency in the books available in the MYP/DP Library. As a result, they decided to solicit ideas for what books we should order. They developed suggestions lists and budgets, which were presented to the head of school for consideration.
Library Donations: Students designed flyers to help advertise for book donations to expand the selection in the empty libraries, sending them home to families and posting them around the school. They set out multiple boxes around the school to help collect books for either the EY/PYP Library or the MYP/DP Library.
During each holiday, the school had their own parties. Sometimes students were given the ability to make it their own and really have fun with it.
Halloween Baking Event: Students in Grade 9 really wanted to host a baking event for the entirety of MYP and provide the rest of the school with cookies for the Halloween party. This event was entirely their idea and was structured by them to ensure that everyone was involved in something. Cookie-making was split into learning how to make the dough (with the assistance of cooks from the canteen) and cutting out cookies using a variety of Halloween-themed cookie cutters. There was also a station where students were able to carve pumpkins! It was a wild success and one of the most enjoyed events in the year.
Halloween: Haunted Hallway: The most common idea for Halloween that all students in MYP asked for was making a Haunted House, so we did the next best thing: the Haunted Hallway! The MYP Hallway was decorated and designed to replicate the Haunted Houses that are common in the United States. All MYP students were allowed to participate in its design, taking on a number of roles: designing props, creating the stories, or being a scary actor. All students had to learn how to adjust the ‘fear level’ for different ages of EY and PYP students, making sure that it was less scary for younger children and going full on for older students. They also created a pathway that would allow for students who were too scared to exit safely.