Students Learn to Build Community Through Fun Fridays
For Pine Lake Middle School, every Friday is Fun Friday. On the last day of the school week, each student at PLMS has the opportunity to spend 30 minutes of Homeroom time exploring, learning, and engaging in various activities throughout the school to start their day. These activities are typically called “stations” and students, for most activities, choose a station to stay in for the duration of the Fun Friday session. There are also designated spaces for roaming: areas where students have the option to move from one activity to another. Some of the more popular roaming spaces include the track, field, gym, and the commons. In total, there are 21 spaces and 22 stations to choose from, including watercolor, knitting and basketball.
When asked about why Fun Friday is important for students at Pine Lake to participate in, Principal Michelle Caponigro said that “students need opportunities to connect with each other and staff via shared learning experiences. Sort of like an 'Ice Breaker' at a staff meeting, Fun Friday is a fun and choice-driven way for students to discover something new or connect with classmates on a preferred topic.”
The Pine Lake Counseling Center Survey also has shown that students look forward to Fun Friday and that it means so much to students that some attend school on Fridays because of it.
The event also benefits student learning and overall well-being. Caponigro shared that Fun Friday is a positive influence because students can meet classmates with similar interests, allowing them to build social and academic connections, and fostering a sense of community.
The community building extends beyond classroom walls. Pine Lake's parent community supports the cricket option by helping to provide materials and teaching students how to play.
Caponigro summarized the overall goal of Fun Friday as a “whole-school positive reinforcement for students to recognize the demonstration of our school's beliefs. It provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate integrity, community, and to have fun.”
Way to go Wolverines!