Has your student talked to you about being in a "pod?" Perhaps they've mentioned a mountain they are learning about like Kilimanjaro or Denali? One of the features of the middle school is that students are assigned to a "pod" (or cohort) of students. Here's an excerpt from our Pod Vision:
"Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Language Arts will be organized into teams called pods. Each team of teachers will have two pods, a morning pod, and an afternoon pod. Students will be assigned to each pod and rotate through the three classes in a cohort of the same students. Each pod will have roughly 90 students split into three teams of 30.
"The pod system is set up to provide students with a home-base, or community of students, as well as a core of teachers to supervise and work closely with these students. This is the first time for our entire school to be in Middle School. Everyone is new, and everyone is learning a secondary school model (class changes, lockers, lots of teachers, etc.). Within the pod, teachers may explicitly teach some organizational skills, communication skills, and general study skills.
"Teachers should design activities to promote a sense of community, togetherness, and kindness within their pods. Teachers should encourage a feeling of “team” within the pod where no one is left out. Students will connect with members of the pod as friends and teammates. A sense that everyone is known and belongs should be a priority in the pod. Pod teachers should create time to make sure these priorities are accomplished either in-class time or during reteach/enrichment. The pod is for kids!"
With the pods in mind, and the fact that our school is named after a mountain, we decided that our theme or mantra would be "Together We Climb" and that each pod would be named after a significant mountain--most are part of the 7 Summits.
In the photo attached, 7th graders in the “Aconcagua” Pod weighed in on their experience as middle schoolers so far by charting their “Peaks” and “Pits” of the first week of school.