We just wrapped up Unit 3: The Thirteen Colonies, continuing to explore our year-long essential idea that culture reflects environment. Students gawked at the idea that before Google Flights, people had to visit travel agencies to figure out travel plans. After the initial wave of shock, they were excited to learn we'd be making brochures to attract new settlers to the colonies. Each page was written using a particular text structure to reinforce writing skills and students did not disappoint! I've included a few examples below.
We also learned about voting rights in colonial America and the ways in which communities have historically been disenfranchised in order to maintain the power of the few. We discussed the history of voter suppression with an emphasis on poll taxes and literacy taxes, watching a clip from Selma that shows voter intimidation.
We engaged in a discussion about contemporary methods of suppression and forms of election meddling and student submitted written responses on Google Classroom, answering the following question: Does every voice really matter?
One student wrote: Based on what I learned, not every voice matters. They try to make you think that everyone can vote but they actually can't. In many ways, they are making it impossible for people that do not support current power systems to vote. Not everyone's voice really counts. I read that states removed 16 million+ voters from polls in recent years. In Georgia alone, 70% of voters purged from the rolls were Black. This proves that not every voice really matters.
It's incredible how engaged students become in material that can sometimes feel distant and irrelevant to their daily lives when we supplement our curriculum with evidence of how historical trends persist!
Since I've been back to work, my colleague Chellsee and I have been committed to highlighting the unique cultures of our students during our Team & Family celebrations (think all school assemblies) each month. This morning, and for the first time as a school community, we celebrated Arab American History Month (insane because we have such a sizable Yemenis population). Students were so excited to showcase their beautiful cultures, reminding us that though grounded in common faith, their cultures are very diverse. Just a reminder that representation matters SO much and that if we're ever to aim for the collective, we have to understand the importance of acknowledging the individual as well.