Middle School Students Take a Break with Honor Council and Superheroes

It’s not uncommon to find middle-school students doing yoga, working on international conflict resolution or digging into 3-D modeling systems every Tuesday and Friday afternoon. Thanks to choice time, Norfolk Collegiate’s middle school students get to dive deeper into their interests and broaden their connections to their teachers and fellow students.

Every quarter, each teacher is responsible for sponsoring a choice time activity. Some of those activities will stay the same through the next quarter based on availability and interest. It’s a great chance for students to do something different during the day, whether that’s free draw or basketball or learning about superheroes. It’s also a special opportunity for bonding two days a week.

“Choice time is one of the unique things about the independent school experience,” said Middle School Counselor Rawn Boulden. “Suddenly you’re not just in school with a teacher but a person. They become a mentor outside of Algebra or the study of rocks. It’s a great chance for students to see their teachers in a different light and connect with them.”

Middle and Upper School English Teacher Jill Archer hosts the study hall choice time.

“Students who select this choice time are able to work on homework, essays, read and get extra help. This year we also partnered with the library, so Ms. Morse came down and took students with her to the library to check out books,” said Archer.  

Teachers Erin Smyth and Garrett Booker teamed up to spend choice time with the Honor Council members.

Booker said, “We worked on honor code trials and the ins and outs of how they work. We'll end the quarter by preparing a public service announcement to educate the student body on what plagiarism is, what causes people to break the honor code and strategies they can use to prevent themselves from breaking it.”

“We watch superhero movies,” said Michael Johnson, teacher. “We analyze those films and then talk about the background of those characters. For example, we watched ‘Thor’ and then went back and studied the Norse mythology that helped develop his character. The kids get really into it!”

“It feeds their education’s growth,” Boulden said. “It’s the greatest brain break. It’s really important to learn how to relax and have fun in a workplace setting. These students are gearing up for high school, so having a break built in helps them learn how not to be overwhelmed. It’s the perfect break to keep them focused for the rest of the day.”

Seventh-grader Chailea Harvey ’24 says she can’t wait to take a choice time activity third quarter that she took last year. “I’m really excited for cross stitching again this year with Mrs. Smythe. It’s relaxing and actually pretty fun.”

Tyjah Chapman ’23 says he decided to spend time in the band room for choice time this quarter. “I’m in jazz band, and I needed extra help with my music, so this choice time activity made sense for me,” he said. “There aren’t many of us in there during choice time, so it’s like getting one-on-one instruction from her. It’s really helpful. It’s also a fun time to explore new instruments. Let’s say you play saxophone, but you’ve always wanted to try the drums. Mrs. Francis will help teach you!”