Monday, October 1, 2018

Building Community Through a House System #EdChat

I'm really excited about the Middle School this year. Besides the regular awesomeness that comes with being in Middle School, the Middle School staff is rolling out a housing system this year! For those that are not familiar with the House System, think about the system used in Harry Potter. If you are not familiar with Harry Potter, why are you reading a blog title, "The Nerdy Teacher"?

If you have questions on what a House System is, check out this resource to walk you through it.

While the House System gained fame through the Harry Potter series, HP did not originate the concept. They have been part of the English school system for a very long time and there are schools in the US that have been using a House System as well. The number one reason we wanted to implement a House System was to help build a stronger community.

We have an amazing community at University Liggett School and things run rather smoothly. However, smooth is not good enough. We want a community that transcends grade levels and really brings students together in a shared experience that goes beyond traditional learning. Our house system looks like this;

6 Houses - Each named after a street one of our predecessor buildings was located. (Burns Rules!)

We researched Knightly Traits (We are the Liggett Knights) and found traits that we felt were important for our students to have as they moved through school. These traits were spread out over the houses and an animal was chosen that represents those traits. 

ex. Burns House - Bravery and Strength - Bear

Students were sorted into each house and teachers were sorted as well. Each house has three adults and around 20 students. 

We held a huge sorting ceremony where each student was sorted into their house.

We have a flex period at the end of the day that can be used as needed, so we spread out house meetings during this time so students can work on various house related projects. 

There is a philanthropy aspect that students will work on over the course of the year in their houses. 

There will be house games that involve teachers and students.

Students are working on deciding what their house colors are going to be and will be designing their own House flag as well. They will also create their own representation of their House animal that will be used for t-shirts and other items throughout the year.  

We have games and other events planned all year to get the students excited about this new tradition at University Liggett Middle School. 

At the end of the school year, points will be added up and a House Cup will be awarded. Here is an example of a House Game we played. 

We are excited about this new tradition at our school because it will bring students across the grades in the middle school together to work on common goals. We see this is a great for leadership opportunities for all grade levels and it will bring everyone together in a spirit of community.

If you are in a school that does a House System, please reach out. I'd love to connect and pick your brain. If you do not have a House System, but are interested in starting one for your school, reach out to me and I'm happy to share the work our committee has done to bring this to our school.

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