The Mirror: A Chalkboard Talk from the SMUS Middle School

What does an average day entail when you’re a Middle School student?

To gain a better understanding, I set up seven chalkboards around the school and asked our students to give me the content for a story that reflects their experience. Each board offered a question:

When it comes to writing a story about Middle School life…

… what’s the big, beneath the surface, challenge?
… what single words need to be in the story?
… what do you value in the people you’re glad to see every day?
… what don’t you value in the people you’d rather avoid?
… what’s something that makes all the difference?
… what’s the big lesson learned?
… what would make for a great last line?

In short order, the students filled the boards with words and phrases that reflected their reality.

I then took more than 100 of their responses and built a story about a day in the life of a student, as witnessed by one of our bathroom mirrors. Each of their phrases was photographed and stacked into the video. When the story was finally shared in Chapel, the students could not only hear their own thoughts, but see them as well.

Of course, no story can cover the experience of every student. At the same time, it’s surprising how much each of us has in common with those who share our hallways.


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