Our interdisciplinary Humanities program combines English Language Arts and Cultural Studies/History into a single integrated curriculum. Using content drawn from the history study, students develop their skills as critical readers and fluid writers across a range of genres and purposes, while thinking deeply about the geographic, natural, political and cultural forces that have shaped civilization in various times and places. Students come to make sense of the emerging patterns and trends in contemporary society.
Reading comprehension is developed through whole-class readings, literature circles, and independent reading; from poetry and fiction to biography and primary source documents, students gain skills across a wide range of literature, and learn how to respond to a text with authentic and original thinking.
Our students come to see writing as both art and craft, understand the role that process plays in successful writing, and effectively communicate their ideas in writing. As writers, students learn to plan and prewrite, draft and edit, revise and then publish and present their work to peers and larger audiences. From research essays to poetry, students develop their voice and write for specific audiences, while consolidating their mastery of grammar and mechanics and developing a rich vocabulary.
The sixth grade Humanities class examines the rise of early humans in Africa and follows their migration into Eastern Europe and Mesopotamia. Early Neolithic cities and the domestication of plants and animals foretell the rise of ancient civilizations. Studies continue with the ancient civilizations of India, Egypt, China, Europe and the Americas. The year culminates with DIG, a simulated archaeological excavation of mythical civilizations created by the students.
The seventh grade Humanities class integrates a broad study of ancient, medieval and Renaissance cultures with the four foundational skills that constitute the language arts (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Literary investigations are undertaken in accordance with the examination of various historical eras including the Fall of Rome, the Birth of Christianity, Growth of Islam, and Medieval Europe. The year culminates with a study of the European Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Exploration.
The eighth grade Humanities class is a broad survey of American history and literature, beginning with early North American cultures and concluding with WWI and the Progressive Era. Major units of study include the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Civil War and its aftermath. The curriculum culminates with a trip to Washington D.C. in the spring, and a concise unit on rhetorical strategies as students prepare to deliver their graduation speeches.