This is the digital portfolio for Matt Dooley's 10th grade Humanities course and for the elective World Religions course. It also contains past work from 9th grade Humanities from 2013-2016. See below for course descriptions.
10th Grade Humanities focuses on developing, strengthening, and refining student's 'voice' as a writer through engaging with particular places, peoples, and stories, and responding to them in a variety of formats, including journaling, essays, fiction, investigative, persuasive, and analytical pieces. Students will incorporate both historical and literary content as well as personal experience in their twice-yearly reflection on the essential question:
How do I respond to the legacy of the past?
To give students adequate context and content to use as evidence in answering the essential question, we will explore both regional and global history over the course of the year.
The fall semester focuses on the history of the north american west from the years 1803 to present-day, with a special emphasis on developing one's own voice through responding to voices from the past. Students engage with a variety of historical sources, including speeches, court decisions, legislation, poetry, and diaries, and create their own responses to these sources in a variety of forms. Subject matter may include the lives and voices of figures such as Tecumseh, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John Marshall, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Chief Ouray, Geronimo, Sequoyah, John Ross, Sarah Winnemuca, Nancy Ward, Russel Means, Chief Manuelito, and others. Novels and historical readings may include works by Willa Cather, Sherman Alexie, Norman McLean, Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, Ambrose Bierce, Ken Kesey, Vine Deloria Jr, Howard Zinn, Larry Schwiekart, and others, reflecting a wide range of perspectives. In this election year, we will also look for opportunities to apply our understanding of past rhetoric from the american west to contemporary political discourse.
In the spring semester we take a more global approach to developing our voices as writers by examining selected histories and literature from the modern world (1914-present), and responding to them with our own voices. Topics may include World Wars I and II, globalization, economic theory (socialism, communism, capitalism, and others), civil rights, human rights, feminism, and current events. Literature may include works from Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Helprin, Arthur Koestler (Darkness at Noon), Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Kate Chopin, and others. This spring semester will also include a special mini-project at the end of the year on the work of William Shakespeare.
World Religions is an elective, one-semester course. The central text is Huston Smith's book, "The World's Religions". Students will explore major world religions including Indian American religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others. This is not a theology course or instruction in which religion is 'right', but an academic approach to thinking critically and deeply about the histories, literatures, sacred texts, cultures, and central messages of different religions. Because this course meets for one hour per day as an elective, it is not a strictly project-based course; rather it will have the feel and structure of a typical Religion 101 course at the undergraduate level. Students should therefore take this course only if they want an elective with frequent and complex reading, writing, and seminars.
9th Grade Humanities explores questions regarding the individual's relationship with society, civilization, and government. We integrate language arts, historical thinking, and skills and perspectives from other humanities and social science disciplines. By the end of the course, students will have written an essay on their own social identity, created a graphic novel, presented anthropological research on a past or present society, and publicly staged a Shakespearean play.
Throughout the course we will study both our own and other civilizations, societies, and governments, and relevant cultural elements, including literature, philosophy, and history. Our project-based learning method examines these topics as they manifest in a range of cultures and time periods.
Students will emerge from this course with stronger writing, reading, presenting, and critical thinking skills. By the end of the course a student should feel confident in his or her ability to constructively critique peer work, undertake independent research, and work collaboratively with others to produce clear, objective, and accurate final products.