The Ups and Downs of the 8th Grade MOSAICs

MOSAIC: Moving on Social and Individual Change. Mosaic is an annual program, which started in 2006, that GFS 8th graders participate in throughout the year. The program focuses on teamwork, the Quaker values of SPICES (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship), as well as media and cyber communities. MOSAIC is also a time to learn about self-identity, gender and race, but each year has a different major theme.20130920_Eighth Grade Mosaic_0126 The goal of MOSAIC is to help create a positive climate within the school by providing a safe environment for students to learn about, experiment with and embrace differences, while recognizing similarities within themselves and their peers.

Many students found MOSAIC to be a time to reflect and learn about their peers as well as gain a further understanding of their own self-identity. However, some students didn’t enjoy the program quite as much, finding the questions asked to be not deep enough, and some of the activity to have conflicting messages. Part of the purpose of MOSAIC was to create a space where everyone had a voice and you could express your own opinions freely.

Some of the activities included creating homeroom cheers, a “True Colors” activity where you worked with people that think similarly to you, a race to spell the word “Community” out of tennis balls, only being able to carry them on a spoon. Another activity was standing on one side of tarp, and without anyone touching the ground, and only one person talking, everyone flipping the tarp over, and standing on the other side. During the largest activity of the day, entitled “Common Ground,” everyone stood silently in a circle, and depending on the statement read you would step into the circle if it applied to you, observe who was in the circle and who wasn’t, and then step back. This activity was very reflective and had many people feeling awkward or uncomfortable. After many of the activities there would be a time to debrief in homeroom groups.

The 8th grade will have one more MOSAIC day, and on the end-of-the-year camping trip, there will be MOSAIC-like activities. Over the year, the 8th grade will be preparing for upper school, and hopefully through MOSAIC, will create more of a sense of community as a grade and understanding of similarities, differences, and accepting everyone for who they are.

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