Dear Seventh Grade Parents,
Friday, December 22 – Friday, January 5–NO SCHOOL–Happy Holidays to all!
Monday, January 8, 2018–School Resumes
IN THE CLASSROOM:
Our week before the holiday break was full of polarities. In the midst of a lot of interpersonal and social tumult in the classroom, we had many special moments and experiences in the context of the curriculum that I trust were able to provide balance and perspective.
We began the week with students walking the peaceful, reverent and beautiful advent spiral, meditating upon the question of how we each might discover our own inner light to have the courage to walk through the darkest season of the year with faith, hope and love. Our inspiration for our capacity to do this with dignity, integrity and honor was the remarkable and riveting human being we met in the biography of Joan of Arc.
We sang and played on recorders holiday/season of light songs straddling time and geography throughout the week. We also read inspiring quotes of the genius master artist, Michelangelo, as well as a couple of poems about the season of winter and the human being from the literary giant of the Renaissance period, William Shakespeare. We experientially explored the sacred geography of the human being in space as described by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man in a pristine eurythmy meditation.
Students shared their creative writing pieces on Leonardo da Vinci, many of which were quite outstanding, then we finished the biographies of both Michelangelo and Raphael. For each artist, we looked at and discussed many of their works of art, noting the wisdom and humanity of Leonardo da Vinci, the mastery and strength of Michelangelo, and the extraordinary purity and beauty of Raphael, particularly in his paintings of the Madonna and Child. Students drew the hands of Adam and God meeting in the part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco painted by Michelangelo traditionally titled, “The Birth of Adam.” They selected a quote of Michelangelo’s of their choice to include with their drawing. They marveled at the caliber of art Raphael was producing as a teenager and young man and were stunned by his early death at the age of 37, wondering what he might have created had he lived longer, especially after having seen some of what Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo accomplished in their later years.
On Wednesday, I gave them a timeline/biography/study guide of the Renaissance period and the individuals we had met over the course of this block. We had a thorough review of the material we covered, and I was extremely impressed with the depth of detail and insight that came out of the class. I had a sense that high school is truly around the corner for them, in a good and rightful way. Their thinking is awakening at a developmentally appropriate time, and they are meeting and benefitting from the wisdom of this curriculum.
They took their block test on Thursday, which was a combination of matching, true-false, multiple choice, and short answer essay. I also asked them some questions to reflect on the block. I heard it went well, so I look forward to reviewing their work. Overall, I have also been extremely impressed with the quality of their bookwork, both their writing and artistic work during this block. Since Ms. Baba was also out on Thursday, they were able to spend that period reading aloud from, The Second Mrs. Giocondo, which I think they are all enjoying. We will finish with that book the week we return from our break, when I have also asked them to turn in their completed Renaissance block books.
They concluded the week with singing together as a community, with our first Festival of Light. I heard it was lovely, and I am sorry to have missed it, but I wish all of you a peaceful and restful break, with health and blessings in the New Year.
With warm regards,
Mary Spalding, Class Teacher