Humanities - Grade Level Descriptions

Humanities - Grade Level Descriptions

Humanities Grades Tabs

Course Description

Our goal in Humanities 6 is to build a supportive learning space in which we explore the question, what causes a group of people to become a community? In the words of Paul Fleischman, author of Seedfolks, “a sense of community [helps us to feel] that we are known, that we care, that we will be cared for.” We develop a deeper sense of community through investigating diverse perspectives in texts, asking thoughtful questions of each other, and connecting the human experience through writing.  

Units of Study:

Unit One: Identity and Community

  • Essential question: How do individuals share their identities in a community?
  • Primary text: Poetry selections

Unit Two: Storytelling and Community

  • Essential question: How do storytelling and listening help to form community?
  • Primary text: The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales

Unit Three: Diversity and Community

  • Essential question: How can a diverse group of individuals become a community?
  • Primary text: Seedfolks by Paul Fleischmann

Unit Four: Membership and Community

  • Essential question: How and why are people excluded from or included in a community?
  • Primary text: El Deafo by Cece Bell

Unit Five: Struggle and Community

  • Essential question: Why do communities form in times of struggle?
  • Primary text: A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

Unit Six: Leadership and Community

  • Essential question: What is the relationship between leadership and community?
  • Primary text: Outcasts United by Warren St. John

Unit Seven: Loss and Community

  • Essential questions: Do individuals need community?
  • Primary text: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Course Description

Seventh grade Humanities builds upon the sixth grade year by continuing to use history and literature as lenses to examine the human experience. Specifically, we focus our studies on American history and literature to help students gain an understanding of our individual, political, and social rights within our societies. As we study both historical and fictional societies, we focus on how the cardinal value/ideology impacts the rules, values, beliefs, customs, and social structure of each society. By exploring the fundamentals of each society, students are able to see how ideologies can shape the rights of individuals. Through critical reading, active discussion, and frequent writing, students gain a broader understanding of themselves, their society, and contemporary social issues.

 

Units of Study:

Unit 1: Rights and Freedoms: United States of America

  • What is a society?
  • How do individuals interact with and become shaped by a society?
  • Are humans born with certain rights and do governments need to protect them?
  • How do we define the concept of rights?
  • What rights are core to you as an individual?

Unit 2: Self and Society: Lois Lowry’s The Giver

  • How do individuals interact with and become shaped by a society?
  • What rights are all humans entitled to?Is there such a thing as too many laws or laws that are too strict?
  • What happens when a society severely restricts individual freedoms? Is it possible to take the concept of “equality” too far? Should everyone be equal in every way?
  • Is it possible to create a perfect society that meets every citizen’s needs?
  • What would our own perfect society be like? What can we learn from Jonas’s society that impacts our own beliefs about how a society should work?

Unit 3: Exploration and Environment: The relationship between humans, their environment, and their property

  • What motivates humans to move and explore?
  • Do humans have the right to claim or own land?
  • Do certain groups of people have greater rights to land than other groups? Why or why not?
  • How should societies treat the environments in which they live?
  • How does the way a society treats the land affect individual attitudes toward land?
  • How should we go about writing an essay?

Unit 4: Citizenship and Equality: American Civil Rights and Literature Circles

  • Are humans born with certain rights? 
  • Do all humans have the same rights? 
  • Do some groups of people have more rights than others?  Why or why not?
  • What is the effect of social class, racial segregation, or gender division on a society and the rights of individuals? 
  • How does prejudice develop? And how does it become a social norm?
  • How should we research effectively?
  • How can we design an informative and convincing podcast?

Unit 5: Justice and Prejudice: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Are humans born with certain rights? 
  • Do all humans have the same rights? 
  • Do some groups of people have more rights than others?  Why?
  • What is the effect of social class, racial segregation, or gender division on a society and the rights of individuals?
  • How does being a part of a group affect a person’s mentality?
  • How does prejudice develop? How does it become a social norm?
  • How do individuals develop their moral and social values? What role do family, school, and government play in the development of an individual belief system?
  • How can we improve and build upon our essay writing skills?

Unit 6: Human Nature and Morality: Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

  • What power do groups (defined by age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, politics, socio-economic class) have in society? 
  • What causes mass hysteria?
  • How does a society’s ideology shape its rules, values, beliefs, relationships between citizens, and language?
  • How does conforming to a particular group or social mindset affect the personal development, choices, and freedom of an individual?
  • How do individuals become agents of social change upon realizing how some rules/values/beliefs/social structure can exclude certain groups of people or prohibit individual thought?
  • After looking at multiple societies and their rules, values, beliefs, social structure, and language, what is one central assertion you can make about the human experience?
  • How do we prepare and a present a TED talk?

Course Description

Eighth Grade Humanities builds upon the knowledge students have acquired in their sixth and seventh grade Humanities courses, seeking to integrate U.S. and world history through an examination of contemporary life and literature. The primary thematic lens that we use to focus our study of the present is justice, in all the ways that we define that word. We read a wide range of texts, and write on a near-daily basis in a multitude of forms and modes, from poetry and journaling to longer essays and responses to literature.

Units of Study:

Unit One: Holocaust and Human Behavior

  • Major Texts: Night by Elie Weisel, primary and secondary sources
  • Essential Questions: Who decides what is considered right and wrong? What are the consequences of abusing power? How do we learn from our mistakes? What are the consequences of being a bystander? How do we define and seek justice after genocide? How do certain individuals stand up to the abuse of power?
  • Key Project:
    • Comparative essay on Night and a related independent reading book

Unit Two: Immigrant RIghts

  • Major Texts: current articles, testimonials, primary sources
  • Essential Questions: What are the basic human rights? What is the struggle between adopting a new culture while maintaining your native culture? What are the connections between different struggles around the world? What can you do when a society doesn’t value your voice or culture?
  • Key Project(s):
    • Persuasive Writing and Speaking

Unit Three: Revolution

  • Major Text: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, primary and secondary sources, current articles
  • Essential Questions: What is the relationship between individual and group identities? What can you do when society doesn’t value your voice or culture? What impact does society have on the individuals?
  • Key Project(s):
    • Graphic Novel

Unit Four: Macbeth & Abuse of Power

  • Major Texts: Macbeth by William Shakespeare, primary and secondary sources
  • Essential Questions: How can power corrupt individuals in society? Who decides what is considered right and wrong? What are the consequences of abusing power?
  • Key project:
    • a production of Macbeth