What would Eminem, Louis Bresson (famed French photographer), Jean-Michel Basquiat, Prince Harry, Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael), Bob Dylan, and Tommie Smith have to say about gun control in the United States?
How about addressing abortion rights through the lenses of the likes of Alison Bechdel, George Washington, Steve Jobs, Emma Gatewood (look her up! She’s amazing!), Kurt Cobain, and Michelle Obama?
These were two of the four discussion topics (the others were substance abuse disorder and climate change) the students of the History and English classes took on in the “Congress of Change” this quarter at Rock Point. This project involved an interdisciplinary approach to exploring a public figure, chosen by each student, who they determined was a society changemaker.
Students chose a historical or current ‘change-maker’ – someone whose life impacted the culture – and deeply explored their character, perspective, and work. Students read a biography of their change-maker and found primary and secondary sources. Each student wrote a profile, an elevator speech, and a resume using the information they gathered.
Students then voted on salient topics to be used to explore the possible thoughts, philosophies, and beliefs of their changemaker to be covered in a roundtable discussion. For the roundtable, students needed to be prepared to speak to each of these subjects from the perspective of their change-maker. The project culminated in a community-wide gathering and exchange of ideas from these sometimes disparate points of view.
Julia Drummond, who has been the short-term substitute teacher in the history classroom, believes “the students stretched themselves in gaining confidence in their research skills as well as their ability to take on a perspective not necessarily their own and present it in a fun and entertaining way.” Kristy Lloyd, our English teacher who co-spearheaded this project, saw this as an opportunity for “students who have different ways of finding success in academics to shine. Within the Congress of Change, students had the opportunity to research real-world topics and offer potential solutions to the problems they see in our world today. They worked very hard, and that work paid off.”
The project was a wonderful way to show student learning and emphasize our Transferable Skill areas of Communication and Critical Thinking. We are proud of our students and look forward to more projects like this one in the future!