Sixth Grade Humanities  

"Like an ox-cart driver in monsoon season or the skipper of a grounded ship, one must sometimes go forward by going back."  John Barth, 1984

2007-2008 Student Web Sites

Unit One: Brazil- The Here and Now!  An introduction to what the Material and Non-Material culture elements and what they look like in Brazil.  Please click here to go to the class web pages for Block Three

Unit Two: Mesopotamia. Looking at how the Material and Non-Material culture elements played out in the ancient river valley of Mesopotamia.   Please click here to go to the class web pages for Block One

"Finding the Human in Human-ities"

Part of the mission of the middle school Humanities department  at Graded  is to help our students become literate, effective communicators and thinkers who can make the connections  between the historic forces shaping our world and their own lives. But, how can that done with modern day sixth graders, if the forces and societies under study are thousands of years in the past?    

Given that humans really haven’t changed that much over time, having the students have a good hard look at themselves was the key. They studied how their own personal identities are influenced by attending Graded and living with their families here in Brazil. Primary source data, in the form of student surveys, helped them think about their current reality while they learned the sociological and psychological foundations of identity, ethnicity, and nationality in class. This became the basis of establishing their group’s worldview. The next step was to take these specific societal elements and apply them to the culture of large groups of people through learning about a pair of interrelated systems.

The first system, the Material Culture, deals with the physical world and the things that a society makes and uses.  The second, the Non-Material, involves the values and beliefs of a society, taught through its institutions, which determines how people behave.  By applying the two systems to their own lives, figuring how a culture functions, becomes concrete.

Which was the point.

The conceit of this web project is to have the students pretend that they are sitting in an airport, killing time, waiting to board a delayed flight. Another child their age, is sitting in one of the hard-backed chairs, about as thrilled with the situation as they are. A conversation is struck and, as people do, the children start to tell about themselves and where they come from. The topic of conversation wanders from the here and now of living in Brazil to discussions about Mesopotamia and a comparison to that river valley society of long ago. While the tone of voice is geared to read like a conversation, the details of the content are derived through research and study. The hope is, by the end, not only have they made new virtual friends through their web pages, but they have also been able to articulately discuss these two different societies and really fully understand the connections to their own lives.

Student Information: Teacher Information



Individual students web pages constructed by the students using Front Page 2003 and Microsoft Office free graphics unless otherwise cited.

Site constructed and maintained by Bridgette Fincher. 6th Grade Graded Humanities. 2007-2008