A super day in our lower grades for this week's Expeditionary Thursday fieldwork on 11/5! In ELA, Grade 6 students have spent the past several weeks researching defining moments in their lives, and learning the narrative craft that let them tell these stories with grace and power. The students have written stories about a moment when they learned an important lesson or experienced something life changing. As published authors do at readings of their work, in today's ET, 6th Graders presented excerpts from their stories that showcase the craft moves that they have learned during this unit. Additionally, in ELA, Grade 6 students have also been participating in songwriting workshops with Emmy-nominated producer/composer Shevy Smith and recording artist Kendall Custer. They have adapted poems from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP) into original songs, while learning how art blossoms even in the most repressive circumstances. In today's ET, Grade 6 students performed their work in the afternoon in the auditorium. The students used this experience as inspiration for their own personal stories as they explored the struggles and life changing events in the lives of the women who are part of the AWWP. In Grade 6 Social Studies, students have been studying identity in our Me to We: Identity and Community expedition. After initially ranking different influences on personal identity, students analyzed the effects of stereotypes based on 5 different categories. They spent a great deal of time reflecting on how they present themselves to the world and, specifically, our BCS community by analyzing choices others make. They then planned their own self portraits, deliberately making choices about setting, clothing/attire, mood/facial expression, and props/pose to introduce themselves to their learning community and start to define themselves, collectively, as a grade. They made and explained specific choices they made to emphasize different aspects of personal identity. Also, in an effort to combat bullying at our school and make our school safe for expression, students named ways they can take a stand against bullying and support their learning community. In today's ET, Grade 6 students presented their self-portraits in a gallery set up in the Grade 6 classrooms and dialogued with each other about what the self-portraits revealed about our amazing Grade 6 peers! In Grade 7, students participated in a day-long immersion to build background knowledge (BBK) before launching the Sugar Expedition. Students analyzed calories in foods many teenagers eat, learned to read nutrition labels, reflected on their typical diet choices, and exercised to measure how long/hard it was to burn a certain number of calories. In Grade 8, students engaged in a guided walking tour of Lower Manhattan about sites of importance during slavery times in New York City. Then they went to the Brooklyn Library at Grand Army Plaza to the Brooklyn Connections. In the current Grade 8 Social Studies unit, they are studying the role and impact slavery had on our nation - attempting to dispel the notion that slavery was just a “Southern” issue and demonstrate it had a major impact on New York City and Brooklyn. The walking tour allowed students to examine sites where events surrounding slavery occurred right in our own backyard. The work with Brooklyn Connections allowed students to conduct research using primary documents about daily life during the Civil War in Brooklyn - like real historians. Through these two field studies, students are better able to understand/analyze slavery as both a local and national problem that shaped the world we live in today.