Middle School Curriculum Update
Helman-Osborn 5th and 6th Grades
Students continued reading their self- selected novels with Greek myth components. The readers responded to their reading selections through written assignments on Google Classroom. They identified descriptive scenes, made text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world connections, and summarized. The How it Came to Be, a pourquoi (origin) story writing assignment that explains a natural phenomenon, required the writers to apply their knowledge about Greek gods and goddess to write their stories. Students then created illustrations for their stories. Using Quizlet, students applied their vocabulary knowledge about Greek gods/goddesses and genre specific words like oracle, prophecy, and satyrs to play vocabulary games. Word studies continued in the Wordly Wise and Words Their Way Spelling programs.
Students in 5th and 6th grades have been continuing their exploration of human development by examining the basics of human genetics and investigating the different ways we study ancient civilizations and people. Students examined the strengths and weaknesses of fields such as archaeology, physical anthropology, and primatology. We have also been analyzing why the idea of collective learning is so important to the success of humans.
We discussed the protests that occurred after the presidential election. A teachable moment presented itself in the days after the election when a bulletin board, made by the class while studying the election, was found damaged. This started a discussion of protesting; asking who would be affected by this small act and whether or not it had its intended consequence. We then analyzed different quotes from leaders of protest movements and users of civil disobedience like Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mahatma Gandhi. To culminate, the class created a list of questions to consider before engaging in protest or civil disobedience.
In our ongoing study of current events, we have talked about the North Korean cyber hacking, the lead up to inauguration day, the president-elect’s appointments, and the changing landscape of the crisis in Syria.
Helman-Osborn 7th and 8th Grades
After several discussions, students came to a consensus about a collaborative idea for Wishes for the World. The students followed a storyboard plan and filmed several video clips illustrating their wishes. To complete the video, one student combined footage, adjusted timing, and added background music.
We enjoyed having our cultural exchange student as a valued member of our class this fall. She showed us the importance of learning about culture and the value of friendship. She will be dearly missed.
Head of School, Nancy, regularly meets with the 8th graders for a “Quakerism” class. Although we talk about Quakerism and prepare a query once a month for Meeting for Worship, there is a strong emphasis on social justice and activism in our work together. Currently, we are listening to Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates. A review from the School Library Journal states: In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society.
7th and 8th grade students have continued their exploration of recent American history; wrapping up our exploration of the reconstruction era and moving into a study of Native Americans and the workers’ rights movement. In our study of Native Americans, we are creating a portfolio project designed to recognize Native Americans; both in the historical role they played in the history of the United States as well as the ethnic and political identities that they represent in the modern world. Each student chose one of the 500 federally recognized tribes and will be providing information to their classmates on the tribes interactions with the American government over time, cultural practices and dress of the past and today, how those tribal groups interact with their neighbors in the modern era, and an analysis of modern newspaper article written by and about the members of their tribe. To study the workers rights movement students have been reading excerpts from Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States.
We took time out to discuss the protests that were occurring after the election stemming from an event in our own middle school community. In our ongoing study of current events we have talked about the North Korean cyber hacking, the lead up to inauguration day and the president elects appointments, and the changing landscape of the crisis in Syria.