Connect with Maia

December 10, 2020

Oh, We Got You! A Together Trio of High School Students!

After debuting the amazingness of Together (Elementary) Students here and here, I’m excited to now introduce Together High School Students. Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege to Zoom / text / email with three high school sophomores in Memphis, all of whom are very Together – and all friends! Jaidyn, DeVardis, and Jay were kind enough to invite me behind the scenes of their approach to Togetherness.

Huge thanks to Power Center Academy High School (managed by Gestalt Community Schools) leaders Terri Gaston and Frederick Holmes, who tipped us off to this Together Trio!  

Together Teen #1: Jay (also me grinning wildly at that To-Do list!)
Together Teen #2: Jaidyn
Together Teen #3: DeVardis

Here are a few nuggets I gleaned from my Zooms, texts, and emails with who I’m calling The Together Trio! All three of them are learning exclusively from home right now, with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

  • Know yourself, learn yourself, and THEN create the To-Do List. Jaidyn knew a type-written schedule would work better for her than a list because, “I know myself and from experience, last year when the pandemic launched virtual learning and before they told us we needed to log in, I distracted myself with too much TV. My body is used to relaxing at home, so I had to re-teach myself to feel like I’m at school.” I wonder if there is some kind of quiz we could build to help kids assess what kinds of Together Tools and habits they need right now – and when they return to school buildings. Also, bonus points for numbering that To-Do list AND putting some “Whens” into it! I asked Jaidyn how she created this list for her asynchronous learning days, and I loved her reply, “I based it off how I will go in a classroom. I selected which class is the hardest first and then move to the easier work.” Yes, Jaidyn, yes!
Jaidyn’s Daily Schedule and Workspace

DeVardis took a slightly different approach, and he makes a hand-written to-do list and keeps it right in his workspace. Bonus points for greenery!

DeVardis’ Checkbox To-Do List
  • Put some time into setting up your space for ruthless efficiency—and joy! DeVardis has four other siblings and a mother who is also working from home. Space is a premium! He decided to set up in the basement game room, and I asked why. “I like to keep myself separate, keep it down there.” Similarly, Jay set up his workspace in his grandfather’s former office to help him focus! Let’s take a peek at Jay’s space in the next photo. Jay notes that he didn’t want to scramble for materials, such as index cards, when in the middle of a lesson. So he gathered all of his materials in one location!
Jay’s Together Teen Workspace
  • Look ahead to see what is coming.  All three students make use of their Google calendars for meetings and events. Jay also creates a visual he keeps in his workspace.
Jay’s Monthly Calendar 
  • Minimize your distractions. My phone-addicted self paid close attention here. All three students keep their phones tucked away, turned over, or on the other side of the room when they are in class. By minimizing his distractions, Jay celebrates completing things early with some extra time on TikTok!  
  • Be ruthlessly efficient with planning the day. All three of these students keep materials at the ready so they don’t have to jump up from class to look for an index card or hunt down a charger. They each view time as a resource they want to use well, so they can have more free time! Speaking of, and perhaps my favorite. . .  
  • Find something else you enjoy a lot – in addition to school! From Jaidyn’s make-up palette development to DeVardis’ avid baking pursuits (see below!) to Jay’s church involvement, all three of these students enjoy true hobbies that bring them joy and fulfillment. This is coming up over and over in my Together Student interviews, and it makes me wonder how we cultivate finding passion (I know it sounds cheesy!) with our students. Anyone doing anything like this?
DeVardis’ Thanksgiving Cake (one of MANY!)

Okay, everyone, talk to me. What have you learned about helping students develop Togetherness?

, , ,