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Tales from the Loft (MS)

Hello Dear Readers!

The new school year started with a flurry of activity and excitement, lots of giggling, definite full-throated laughter, burgeoning friendships, and discussions on building our community. It's definitely been a whirlwind!

During our first few days, besides learning the procedures of a "regular" school day (there really is no such thing at DGS!), we held conversations about building a community of kindness. This conversation will continue throughout our year and guide our decisions as we navigate sharing and holding space for each other in our daily DGS lives. Two activities in particular focused on our connection to each other and how we may respectfully support each other in our shared space.

One activity that parents may have viewed at Back to School Night involves the famous hexagons. We use hexagons consistently as we build connections in MS and in our academic pursuits. Each student created a personal hexagon with a variety of traits pictured in the sections. Then, one by one, students went to the wall, explained their traits and drew connections between themselves and their classmates. If a space that was left open did not have an obvious connection, the student had to think creatively and critically to find a thread that could connect them to the larger figure. In the end, everyone contributed to make our MS molecular structure - even the teachers had to contribute!

After taking a few days to get acquainted, MS spent a day bonding at McDowell Nature Preserve. Students kayaked while chaperones paddleboarded. We spent the morning on the water, playing a relay game and working together. They had such a great time! After lunch, students divided into two groups, some playing team building games while others explored the woods through geocaching. While we did not have time to switch activities, everyone shared that they enjoyed the day and would definitely go back.

Our second activity to truly clarify our place within the DGS MS involved a simple notecard and a discussion. On one side of our cards, we wrote down ways we contributed to our success at DGS. On the other side of the card, we wrote down ways others contributed to our success at DGS. We ended by recognizing our need on others to create community and to experience success in school. But the main point is not just that our classmates and family hold value to us, it is that WE HOLD VALUE FOR OTHERS. Each member of our MS brings value to our community and offers gifts to our culture through their presence. Without each MS member, we would not have a MS! Everyone is needed!

Throughout the rest of the week, students dove into their academics, beginning with heat islands and math review and poetry about origins. We discussed our ties to nature and our ties to ancestry, drawing again on the theme of connectedness.

Link to the poem by Joy Harjo:

Joy Harjo - United States Poet Laureate, 2019-22

This coming week, we will continue to dive into our studies, introducing and exploring the UN's Sustainability Development Goals, and beginning discussions about the famous MS ELFT.

I look forward to working with this group of students this year, and I want to THANK YOU for sharing them with me. It has been an incredible start to the 23-24 year, and I cannot wait to continue growing in community with these students.



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