Engaging and Appreciating Diversity and Difference

At Principia Middle School, the entire student body is revved up about REV, a new element in the core program that involves every learner from sixth through eighth grade and is expanding horizons.

“REV is a revolutionary idea involving revolving classes that reveal revelations in student thinking,” as one eighth-grader put it in a tongue twister, when explaining the concept to parents at a recent performance showcasing their skills and creativity.

Basically, over the course of an academic year, all students revolve through each of three trimester-long, multi-grade classes in art, drumming circle, and drama/improv. This fall, students in drum circle have learned to “call and answer” in order to make music on plastic buckets as well as traditional African djembe drums; the improv/drama students have practiced what it means to have a “Yes, and . . .” mindset as they take ideas and build on them in fast-paced, witty sketches during improv; and the art group has come up with creative costuming and insights about urban life and landscapes.

“These REV classes give us an opportunity to explore new experiences that, for many of us, are a bit out of our comfort zones,” says one student. “The skills we learn will help us in the future.”

The faculty couldn’t agree more. They see the REV experience helping to achieve a range of objectives that positively impact both student learning and the educational environment. Specifically, Preschool–8 Principal Dr. Kimiko Ott says, REV helps students
• increase their appreciation and respect for diversity and difference,
• develop the ability to listen with purpose and intent, and
• engage thoughtfully and confidently in their education.

And, not least of all, the REV program helps students take stock of and understand how each of them contributes to and enriches the whole.

Does your school do something similar?

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