Humanities

The Humanities program consist of: History, Literature, Writing classes. There is an additional Language Arts for 6th graders and Latin for 7th and 8th graders.

Sixth graders have been busy this trimester diagramming sentences, honing their spelling skills, and studying the development of ancient Homo sapiens from hunter-gatherer societies through simple farming societies. In literature class, both 6th and 7th graders have just finished reading William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker, which has inspired discussions about teaching and learning, about stubbornness and patience, about protagonists and conflict, and about how the lives of disabled people have changed since Helen Keller’s childhood in the 1880’s.

In American history, the 7th and 8th graders have been studying the rapidly developing global economy of the early modern world, examining the host of factors – growing population, religious persecution, opportunities for trade, frustration with primogeniture – that led many Europeans to leave Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as the consequences of European exploration on the people of North America, South America, and Africa. The American history students are currently putting the finishing touches on a website that they wrote and developed themselves – we will share the link to the site with parents when it is completed!

In Latin, the 7th graders are building their vocabulary and their understanding of basic Latin grammar. If you have a 7th grader, ask him about dogs, dinner, being hungry, and working in the fields. They are especially fond of the word “devorat,” which means “he/she devours,” possibly because we often have Latin right before lunch! 8th grade Latin students spent most of the first trimester reviewing what they learned last year, completing projects like illustrated children’s books in Latin and reminder signs for the campus that use imperative verbs. As the students’ skills grow, we are looking forward to some more creative projects at both levels. In the elementary grades, our Humanities curriculum is integrated into one course. Early in the year, the students made maps of California and learned about our state’s diverse landscapes.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have also completed book reports, studied spelling, and begun to learn about major events in California history. Right now, each student is researching a California native American tribe and preparing a presentation to the class. Next week, we will be enjoying folktales from the Cahuilla tribe, fry bread and acorn muffins from the Chumash tribe, learning to play a student-designed board game that will teach us about the Modoc people, and appreciating the basket-making skills of the Washoe and Ohlone tribes. The students have also worked together to plan the story line of a play that they will begin rehearsing after Thanksgiving!

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