Saturday, November 14, 2009

Understanding Rebellion

We approach a very unique time in both the seventh and eighth grade curriculum. The emergence of rebellion and articulation of dissent is a theme that both grade levels are experiencing right now. The seventh graders are grasping rebellion through the works of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. The idea of giving voice to rage and anger in its formation of America is an element that helps allow full comprehension of the American Revolution. Students have endured writing Primary Source Quotations from the "Halls of Justice" and have spent time analyzing the ideas which lie behind each. This week, we will examine how the ideas of rebellion put forth in the works of both thinkers lay behind the articulation of Colonial anger, fostering freedom. The eighth graders will be delving into the work of Howard Zinn this week. Students were given their packet of work on Friday and nightly reading should be undertaken with annotation and highlighting of essential concepts or ideas. Students should take about thirty or forty minutes, rough estimate, for each night's reading. This reading is intense, and warrants the utmost in focus. Part of the reason why it is so powerful lie in the author, himself. Zinn is very much animated with the spirit of articulating rebellion and how history is made when authority is questioned.
In terms of what lies on the horizon for our students, all students should know that Friday, November 20 marks the end of the trimester for work to be submitted in Social Studies. At the same time, seventh graders will take their exam on chapter six on November 30, and should be making preparations for this. The eighth graders will be focused on reading Zinn, keeping up with the nightly demands, and participating in class discussions/ exploration activities. This is something that should be expected. In terms of major writing for the 8th graders, I would suggest that they prepare themselves for writing assessments in the long term, but for the short term, the reading will be critical. In terms of any other items, I would like to suggest that students investigate the purchase of flash drives/ memory sticks. I know majority of our students possess them, but it makes for the process of uploading documents and saving work much more reliable. If nothing else, it stresses to all students the need to save work constantly and consistently. This is not a bad habit to acquire (Ask anyone who has lost 65 pages of research... not to name names, or anything!) As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at school or at my home if you have any questions.
Hoping all is well and happy hunting.
Mr. Kannan

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