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January Community Flex Time: Identity

Nayo Brooks, Lower School Director
As a lower school we have begun to use a portion of time on Friday mornings after Chapel dedicated to what we call Friday Community Flex Time, a common time when the Lower School can come together as a community in different configurations and work on common projects and activities.
 
The theme for the month of December was about community building, getting to know others outside of their grade levels and learning spaces, and building and fostering peer-to-peer relationships across the Lower School. Kindergarten buddied with 3rd grade, 1st grade with 4th grade, and 2nd grade with 5th grade. It was a really fun several weeks!
 
In December the buddies spent some time getting to know one another, completing a Venn diagram the first Friday in December to learn more about one another. The following Friday each grade pairing read the book Milo’s Museum, by Zetta Elliott and Purple Wong. 
 
Milo’s Museum tells the story of Milo, a child who enjoys her visit to a museum, but is left with questions about why she doesn’t see herself reflected there. After a heart to heart with her aunt, Milo decides to take action by creating her own museum. 
 
After the read-aloud, the students worked with their buddies to design and create their own artifacts out of maker-space materials to include in a community museum, similar to the exhibit that Milo curated for her museum. Students talked with their grade level buddies about different parts of their identity and what was important to them. The Friday before Winter Break was filled with crafting and designing with grade level buddies.
 
While we could not join our buddies in January in an effort to keep grade level cohorts separate, students finished their design and building in their classrooms that day. We have displayed completed artifacts (which are amazing!) on our Mezzanine for all to enjoy and learn more about one another. Students are touring the museum in their class sections with their teachers. Each artifact is accompanied by a museum label that gives the name of the artist, what materials were used, and explains how the artifact is meaningful to them.
 
We will continue to build upon this idea of identity throughout the month of January as we use our Friday Community Flex Time to look at goals and affirmations for this upcoming year and community engaged learning with community partners. I am so fortunate to be able to design and plan these Friday Community Flex Time activities with teachers who volunteer their time to meet with me after school every other week to think about how to make this time meaningful and special for all.
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St. Paul's Episcopal School
116 Montecito Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
510.285.9600