The Humanities Department has embarked on a bold schoolwide adventure to integrate the study of literature, history, religion, art, music, architecture, film and dance in a four-year sequence: Ancient Studies, World Studies, European Studies and American Studies.
English and history teachers team-teach these courses, along with the school's music teacher and other guest lecturers. Students who complete the four-year sequence will receive half credits for both history of art and history of music.
One representative unit is the Jazz Age Unit in American Studies. In this unit, students read “The Great Gatsby;” study the history, art and music of the 1920s; learn to dance the Charleston, dress up as flappers, visit the Grove Park Inn (where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald frequently stayed) and write an integrated research paper tying all of these experiences together.
With such multifaceted units, we hope to develop students' imaginations and creativity as well as their ability to think and write clearly using specific and compelling evidence.
The Humanities approach is the idea of making horizontal connections, and they are making these connections between art and politics and literature. What's great is that students, especially those students who have been with us for four years, are making these incredible vertical connections as well. They can go across disciplines, but they can also go back and down through the years, pulling ideas from the very beginning.Tim Plaehn, Humanities Teacher