The goal of Seventh-Grade Humanities is to better prepare students for work and life. To that end, the content – political, physical and human geography of Africa, Asia, Europe and South America – is the vehicle through which skills are honed and overarching concepts are grasped. This curriculum, which was designed specifically for Open Window students, is rooted in language arts and emphasizes to what extent one’s grammar, vocabulary and expression (whether written or verbal) affect how one’s message is received. Writing focuses on the Six Traits writing skills. The course provides a multi-faceted platform where every student can access the material, capitalize on their strengths, and explore what it means to be a citizen in a “diverse and changing world.” While all of the work is inter-connected and cumulative, the concepts and skills are generally grouped as follows:
Integrity: What are your principles? What does a principle-centered life look like for you?
Skills: SELF-DIRECTION and LEADERSHIP
Materials: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
by Sean Covey, Mindfulness Activities and TED Talks such as Susan Cain’s Power of Introverts
Discernment: What is true? How do we know what’s true? What is your truth?
Skills: CRITICAL THINKING and PROBLEM SOLVING
Materials: Global Lives Project, community excursions, guest speakers, global Skypes, historic speeches, periodicals, academic articles, TED Talks such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Danger of a Single Story
and work by authors including : Kashmira Seth, William Shakespeare, Rachida el-Charni, Chinua Achebe, Aminatta Forna, Ifeoma Okoye, Prajwal Parajuly, Anita Desai, R. K. Narayan, Zhang Xinxin, Xu Zechen, A Yi and Jorge Luis Borges.
Expression: Why is your truth valuable? How can you convey your truth?
Skills: INNOVATION and COMMUNICATION
Materials: extemporaneous speeches, group presentations, performance (and backstage work) of Shakespearean play (The Tempest, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), literary analysis, creative writing, personal narratives and solutions to contemporary problems.
Listening: How can you hear the truths of others and why is it important?
Skills: COLLABORATION and FLEXIBILITY