Walton Middle School proudly promotes the AVID program, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, across its campus--in all classes, each and every day. The schoolwide readiness program helps students develop the skills they need to be successful in college and career. Each WMS teacher also promotes WICOR Wednesday, which emphasizes growing students' writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading skills. The first Wednesday of the school year, WMS teachers wasted no time introducing this philosophy and skillset to the Warrior tribe.
In Mrs. Tiffany Mills' sixth grade science class, students put their collaboration and inquiry skills to work, developing an idea to build the tallest spaghetti tower possible, one capable of holding a marshmallow on top, using only noodles, tape, and string. Students had five minutes to strategize and ten minutes to build in this dynamic STEM activity that employed WICOR skills.
Just down the hall, Mr. Dennie Smith emphasized the importance of strong organization skills in his seventh grade reading class. Students first quickly wrote about why it is important to stay organized, then collaborated with their peers, sharing their thoughts aloud. Mr. Smith also helped students get their binders and supplies organized so their school year can start on the right foot.
Across campus, Mrs. Emily Kent introduced WICOR by engaging students in a desert survival activity that required them to read, write, collaborate, and think. Students were presented with a mock plane crash scenario, in which they had to negotiate and prioritize which items that survived the wreckage were most crucial for survival. Students worked with their teams to finalize their lists, using logic to defend their rationales. Upon reaching a consensus, students compared their survival lists to expert recommendations. The lesson involved a tremendous amount of critical thinking and teamwork and was engaging for all.
In another sixth grade classroom, Mrs. Gaby Brown's AVID students also ensured they were ready for a successful school year by organizing their binders and materials. Mrs. Brown emphasized how organization is one of life's essential skills for success. She assisted students as they listed assignments for her class on their binder logs and organized them accordingly. She also ensured students' notebooks were set up appropriately for their other classes. Undoubtedly, with Mrs. Brown's support, these AVID elective students are bound to have a great school year.
Mrs. Karley Leach recognizes that, like organization, goal setting is essential for success too. She led a writing lesson in her seventh grade class that required students to reflect on three goals they set for themselves, elaborate on why they are important, and discuss how specifically they will work toward achieving them. All pencils were moving in Mrs. Leach's room because her students were writing about a topic that was meaningful to them.
In sixth grade ELA, Mr. Brendon Murphy also introduced WICOR to his students with a creative writing assignment. His students wrote a time capsule letter to their future eighth grade selves. Mr. Murphy asked students to write about what it is like to live in 2019, what is popular these days, who their friends are, how they see their lives changing in middle school, etc. Mr. Murphy promised his students he would give them their letters back at the end of eighth grade so they can look back and see how much they will have changed. The lesson not only gave Mr. Murphy an opportunity to pre-assess students' writing but also served as a fun opportunity for students to reflect on their own identities and lives.
Teachers kicked the first WICOR Wednesday of the school year off with engaging lessons throughout the tribe that will undoubtedly help WMS Warriors create bright and successful futures.
Submitted by Kristen Nelson