Posted by Kristy Lundstrom, Head of Middle School on October 12, 2020
During the first quarter of this school year, our entire division (students and teachers) is focused on honor. As one of the four values highlighted in McDonogh’s Character Compass, understanding the meaning of and committing to being honest and honorable helps us to build a foundation for learning this year. Here are a few examples of the ways we are studying and practicing honesty.
In advisory, honesty is discussed from “what if” scenarios. For example, students have watched this video and then discussed the video with a dialogue around “what would you do in this situation?”
Students have also explored what is honor as captured in the padlet discussion:
Our librarians have created a list of books students can read on their own to hear stories of honor. Some students in fifth grade want to start a book club to discuss the stories.
Our first division-wide assembly was focused on honesty and honor at our school. During the assembly, students performed music and read quotes relating to honesty, our school’s archivist talked about how the star in our school’s seal symbolizes honesty, and one faculty member shared a personal story about when it was hard to be honest. Students were then asked to break into smaller groups to discuss how honor and honesty are evident in their daily lives.
We welcomed two guest speakers (via Zoom) to speak about how truth and honesty manifests itself in their careers. Keiffer Mitchell, the Acting Chief of Staff to Governor Larry Hogan and Luke Broadwater '98, a reporter for The New York Times, spoke to a Middle School assembly about their careers in journalism and politics. Both speakers talked of the importance of honesty and communication. The assembly concluded when Mitchell stated, “It is important that we recognize that this world is a very diverse place with all types of diverse communities that we need to embrace. The key is communication. We need to talk to each other, not at each other.”
We have done read alouds from The Empty Pot by Demi.
Students have worked on self-regulation and values clarification using our Habits of Success guiding questions:
Honest in actions, words and relationships
Things to think about that relate to this criteria:
We have also approached understanding honesty from the lens of plagiarism and how to correctly build on the ideas of others and cite other sources. Our librarian visits individual classes to help students practice citation and the honest expression of personal ideas. We have also used Cult of Pedagogy’s Preventing Plagiarism article.
These specific examples illustrate just a few of the ways we are thinking about honesty. We understand that it is important for students to fully understand what honesty is. Therefore, we are committed to providing opportunities to practice honesty. We are committed to engaging in meaningful conversations. In middle school, different situations evoke different reactions. By reading different stories, discussing specific examples, and practicing what to do when challenged, we hope to help students recognize and respect honesty in all that they do.
Learning in the Middle focuses on all things Middle School at McDonogh--organization and structure, themes, instructional design, activities, visible teaching and learning, character development, joy in the everyday, and more! We highlight the challenges and brainstorm ways to meet them, and we celebrate the successes and share ideas for further development.