My name is Will Hackett, I have been involved with Kieve for the majority of my life, and a part of the Leadership School staff for the last four years. This is my second winter doing the Educator in Residence program, and once again it has been a life changing experience! Over the past month and a half I have had the extreme pleasure of being the EIR at Memorial Middle School in South Portand. Memorial has been coming to The Leadership School at Kieve for six years with their sixth graders. My responsibilities at memorial stretch from working with English language learner students to helping facilitate Restorative Justice Circles with Steve Chabot, the Assistant Principle.
The ELL program at Memorial Middle School is run by Sheanna Zimmerman and Bird Potter who work tirelessly with students from all over the world to help them overcome language barriers and assist with a smooth transition to the mainstream of students. In my first weeks at Memorial, I was able to facilitate a Community Maps Project, where after discussing the meaning and importance of the word community, the students created a creative map of the community and culture they grew up in. It was fascinating to watch all of the students develop a passion for their home countries and be able to express themselves through detailed drawings with maps and flags. It was also really cool to learn about many different cultures around the world.
After presenting their maps to their classmates, I was able to facilitate a discussion about how, while all of their countries have many things about them that are different, there are also many similarities that can be seen as well. It was great to see them gain more respect for each other’s cultures.
Finally, we broke the students up into groups of four, with the only restriction being that everyone had to be from a different country. Once groups, the students put there together to create a map of the community that they live in now. The maps included communities in; Memorial Middle School, South Portland, Maine, The United States, and The World. Overall the students were able to learn a lot about each other’s communities, and talk about all of the factors that are important in their own community now.
The other big project I had was organizing a Kieve Day for Memorial’s 7th and 8th Grade Students. Kieve day was set up as a refresher experience for students who have been more than one year removed from their residential Kieve experience. Eight other Educators came to Memorial on Friday February 6 and ran a half day of programming for both grades. While the students were in class refreshing all they learned in our Skills, Teambuilding, and Relationship curriculum, Reid Anderson conducted a Teacher Workshop for Memorial Middle School Staff, to give teachers some activities that are easily transferable to their own school curriculum, The day was a great success and we may have even had a little bit of fun!
My overall experience so far at Memorial has been one that I will never forget. I can’t wait for February break to end so I can continue to form more lasting relationships among both students and staff!