• viking head and blue helmet Viking Huddle is a combination of social-emotional learning and our multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) process at Orchard Lake Middle School. Students meet in their Viking Huddle class every day for 30 minutes. Twice a week students are engaged in social-emotional learning based on the Origins’ “Developmental Designs” middle school model. The teaching staff at Orchard Lake Middle School worked over the summer for three years to create building-wide, grade level lesson plans for all of our Viking Huddle classes.

    Our Viking Huddle classes consist of students randomly placed together based on grade level and lessons are based on our three core beliefs. Our core beliefs are:

    1. Respect yourself (Focus of 6th grade)

    2. Respect others (Focus of 7th grade)

    3. Respect this place (Focus of 8th grade)

    Our 6th graders go through lessons that focus on personal well being, making good decisions, learning to plan, and other topics focused on personal social-emotional health. Our 7th grade students learn strategies to interact properly in social settings, how to take a “we versus me” attitude, and many other topics that focus on helping and supporting others. Our 8th grade lessons focus on service, open mindedness, standing up for what you believe in a group, and their future.

    During the three days a week when students are not engaged in the social-emotional learning curriculum, Viking Huddle Academics is used to assist students who may be behind or need additional support in a class. Teachers are able to work with individual students or in small groups to provide the support needed for students to be successful. We are currently piloting a model where students who do not need academic support are able to participate in enrichment activities during their Viking Huddle Academic time.

    We started our Viking Huddle program five years ago and have changed or tweaked the model every year to meet the needs of our students. The current model we use came about through teacher collaboration around students’ emotional and academic needs. We continue to look at different ways to tweak our model to best serve our students.