On Wednesday Nov 8, the ASIJ Middle School had its first Mix-It-Up day for the year. Mix-It-Up Days are designed to offer students an interdisciplinary learning experience connected to the school’s mission statement of “Developing compassionate, inquisitive learners prepared for global responsibility.”
For this Mix-It-Up day, middle school teachers introduced students to a range of global issues before selecting one they felt most interested in to explore further. Wesley Przybylski (middle school learning innovation coach) details the process, learning and presentation of topics to elementary school students.
Among the Mix-It-Up Day topic choices, students explored environmental issues such as forest preservation, climate change and the problems of plastic. Other topics centered around human rights, areas such as girls’ education, gender equality, child labor in chocolate production and protecting journalists. Students also chose to learn more about protecting animals, learning about the dangers of shark finning or more about animal rescue.
Once students chose their topics, they engaged in project-based learning and dove deeper into these global issues. As part of the experience, we challenged students to create a presentation for a group of elementary students to share what they had learned in an engaging and accessible way. Students watched this video of elementary teachers challenging the students to share their learning. The next morning, middle school students went in small teams to each elementary school class to share their global issue through storytelling, skits and art.
Reflecting on this year’s Mix-It-Up day, middle school students said that “it was an emotional morning for me,” “I liked the choices teachers gave throughout the day” and “the topics made me think about things in a new light.” Others reflected that it was “interesting to find out that teachers care about many different things” and “It was fun, but we were also learning.”
Elementary school students also responded to the middle schoolers’ presentation saying “Thumbs up” and “It helped me think about big problems.”