At Rockford Middle School-Center for Environmental Studies (RMS-CES), administration and teachers have utilized research-based methods for developing the daily schedule.
Included in each day is a period of time called Rocket Block, dedicated to providing RMS-CES students with opportunities to explore new ideas, enrich learning, and engage their imaginations.
Research shows middle level students benefit from exposure to a wide variety of hands on learning experiences. Each day, all students at RMS-CES experience 30 minutes of Rocket Block time, which allows for flexible grouping and opportunities for extended activities. Some of the activities featured this year during Rocket Block include rehearsing for a production of “A Christmas Carol”, learning Cornell Note taking strategies, and investigating current events.
One group that meets during Rocket Block is a student-led, student-based school newscast called Rocket Preview. Five RMS-CES eighth grade students lead the production of Rocket Preview: Taylor Weeding, Jessie Johnson, Edison King, Corrinna Bigot, and Sara Krebsbach. These students meet every to write, produce, and film a news show that is broadcast live throughout the building each morning!
Each week, other eighth grade students have the opportunity to join in on the news desk, weather station, or to work behind the scenes; the core members have the responsibility to teach the incoming students how the broadcast is run each day.
Jessie Johnson, managing editor of Rocket Preview, expressed her enjoyment of the news show, “Personally, I really enjoy being able to work on this show each day, and hope it goes on for many years to come. One reason being just that it is a wonderful opportunity and that I know the younger grades will enjoy it too. Rocket Preview is a fun and interactive way to get news out in the school that otherwise you might not hear. This is truly is probably my favorite part of the day.”
RMS-CES teachers and students appreciate and enjoy Rocket Preview, as it allows daily announcements, birthday wishes, weather updates, and important information to get to all areas of the school in an enjoyable method. It is inspiring to see students taking charge of the daily live broadcast, and the effort behind the scenes that makes each production run smoothly.