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Tale from the Loft

Dear Readers,

It's been a couple of weeks since we've spoken, and so much has been swirling around in the attic of DGS. We're a busy group, middle school!

In ENGLISH, students put the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" on trial. In this classic by Edgar Allen Poe, the narrator murders a resident of his home and then tells the tale to us readers from his own thoughts. The two legal teams extracted evidence from the story itself to argue each side - Guilty of aggravated, first degree murder or innocent by an insanity plea. Students played the parts of the trial, including attorneys, jury participants, and of course, the two witnesses. Prosecutors used the testimony of the resurrected old man, who explained his point of view, while the defendants put the narrator himself on the stand. After deliberation, the jury declared the narrator INNOCENT by reason of insanity.

In HISTORY, students read two articles using a close reading format. Each article is perused quickly for titles, names, charts, and graphs. This initial skimming gives readers an idea of what the main topic will discuss. In the second reading, students searched for main ideas and evidence that the source is legitimate. Who wrote the article, who were the experts, what are they saying, and is there a works cited provided for the scientific or historical data shared? Finally, in a third reading, students reflect on deeper questions and must think critically about how the information may have enhanced or changed their point of view on the given topic.

From here, middle school moves into a series of key unit studies. Our focus will shift first to indigenous studies so that we may address the genocide of Native peoples that occurred in the Americas following the Columbian Exchange. This will then naturally lead us into the forced immigration and enslavement of Africans in the Americas.

We will also address Black History Month and Women's History Month, though our lessons for awareness and celebration of these groups will be spread throughout much of February, March, and April.

In SUSTAINABILITY, Emily and I guided students through an informative unit study of our oceans, SDG #14, Life Under Water. We now are heading into a deep dive of SDG #4, Quality Education; we will discuss global and regional challenges, while exploring innovative solutions.

Each of the SDG units begins with a guiding question, followed by activities and discussions that require contemplating hard problems without clear solutions. So far this year, we have addressed the following questions:

What are the world's main problems?

Why are people struggling to gain access to clean water and sanitation?

How have humans affected the both quality of water itself and life under water?

How do we ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education for all?

As much as possible, all of our subjects overlap, weaving connections through each class so that the SDGs become our interdisciplinary focus for middle school.

In other news:

ELFT is early March and we're headed to Wilmington! The house is booked and plans are happening!

Fundraising efforts are plugging along and include:

  • Kids' Night Out

  • Homemade Spa Products (for sale soon!)

  • Pizza Lunches

Mandala artwork is on display at Davidson Library....go check out your local students' art!

Eighth graders have been invited to a World Affairs Council luncheon and will hear the Ambassador of Pakistan to the US speak. Details to follow!

MS has collected items for goodie bags to gift to the unhoused members of our Charlotte community. The bags will be dropped off with Room in the Inn, a local nonprofit, and they will distribute them as needed.

Until next time.....




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