Middle School Advisory

What is middle school advisory?
Advisory is a 15 minute period at the beginning of the day. This year, students’ advisories are the same as their cohorts, but normally, the advisories are mixed grade level and provide an opportunity for students across grade levels to get to know each other.

What do students do in advisory?
Advisory is mainly focused on building community, though we also work on executive functioning skills, character education, and social-emotional development. Each day looks different. On Mondays, students do academic check-ins with their advisor or have Drop Everything and Read time. On Tuesdays, students have a lesson from their current character education unit. On Wednesdays, we watch CNN student news and discuss current events. Thursdays and Fridays focus on building community– students may be journaling and sharing, doing a team building activity, or participating in a get-to-know-you game. Advisories also have fun Friday traditions, such as playing a student-made Kahoot, having a dance party, or playing “Guess that Tune!”

What character education units are taking place this year?
We have three units we’re focusing on this year. The first one was about coping during COVID, and focused on strategies to help students deal with stress and become more resilient in the face of challenges.

Our current unit is on empathy and bullying. Students are learning how to identify bullying (versus a conflict or playful teasing) and where to draw the line with their own behavior, as well as learning about the different roles people play in bullying situations. We’re working on strategies students can use to become “upstanders,” or people who stand up for others, versus standing by or participating in unkind behavior. We’re already very lucky to have a wonderful group of middle schoolers that report very little bullying at TDS, but we want them to have the tools to deal with these situations no matter where they are.

Our next unit will continue with the bullying and empathy theme, but with a focus on identity-based bullying, or bullying that is occurring specifically because of an aspect of someone’s identity, such as their race or sexuality.

Emily McAllister
Middle School Director