An Independent School • Grades 5-12

Middle School Personal Development: Mapping Values

July 2016

Students consider their values and goals in an interdisciplinary project.

In 7th-grade Personal Development, students do an art project that’s a variation on the classic middle school exercise of making life maps. They consider who they are – their core values – and illustrate where they want to be in 10 years, with goals from academic to fun. Students use their thumb prints in creating art that illustrates their future goals, and the various ways they define success.

“Students embrace the challenge with creativity,” says personal development teacher Camilla Calkins. “The project gives students an opportunity to reflect on what has contributed to making them the unique person they are today and consider the person that they want to become.”

In designing the project, teachers drew on Carol Dweck’s research regarding the growth mindset, which shows that creating a strong connection to core values helps teenagers navigate life changes. The project fits within the larger goal of the personal development program, which is to help students make smart decisions about their relationships with and responsibilities to their immediate community and the larger world.