Middle School goes beyond the history books
Our Middle School students took a new approach to history and historical events, with an interdisciplinary Grade 8 Armistice Day project, and a division-wide election simulation earlier in the month. Each project is crafted to bring the lessons beyond the cut-and-dry facts, and into experiential learning where students can engage with facts and key principles in a deeper way.
The election simulation was organized by Mr. Blankeney, our Grade 7 social studies teacher, to help students understand the American general election and the different state and federal processes at play when voters go to the polls. At a Middle School assembly, Mr. Blakeney broke down the different state-level rules regarding voter registration and ballot return, and then divided each Advisory group into different "states" so that each class would practice one of the different ways of registering and returning their ballots.
As the election arrived, students registered for their ballots on the state-dependent timelines for their particular Advisory-state.
Next, leading up to and on election day, students voted 'in person' or 'by mail' and a team of students gathered together to count the votes. This hands-on and whole-division activities helped students understand the complexities of enfranchisement and the nuances of state-level election control.
Around the same time, our Grade 8 students took part in an interdisciplinary study of WWI, across their language, humanities, and arts classes in the Middle School. Although this unit is usually accompanied by a visit to Verdun to learn on the ground, this year was a bit different, with teachers banding together to plan activities like a trench walk and soldier simulation around campus.
A series of workshops were organized in Art, French, English, and Social Studies. Students researched the role of women in war, and worked to create a monument museum using artifacts and ephemera. Students read poetry and WWI writings in English, before writing their own poetry and discussing aspects of social activism. In their workshops, the students also created trench art and displayed it in the Duran Romera Commons in the Middle School.