Ms. Darya Kostikina and Ms. Andromachi Lenou specifically planned their 8th-grade Language & Literature classes with Black History Month in mind. While working on their literary unit on Maya Angelou’s iconic memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the 8th graders learnt about where Black History Month began, doing research on famous Black people in a number of disciplines throughout history.
The students played a jeopardy-style game at the end of class which quizzed them on these people. Next, as they segue to their Argumentative Writing unit next week, they will re-examine MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech through the lens of argumentation–focusing on ethos, pathos, and logos in particular. They will also examine Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Why We Should All Be Feminists” as further examples of argumentation before students choose their own topics to write persuasive essays on. Lastly, students will watch The Great Debaters, a movie depicting the true story behind the Wiley College (an HBCU) first-ever debate team as it takes on Harvard in the national championship of debate.
In their 9th Grade Lang/Lit classes, Ms. Darya Kostikina and Ms. Andromachi Lenou will be reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (1937) focusing on the idea of outsiders, specifically with regards to the character of Crooks. The students will conduct research on the racial discrimination and abuse black people were subjected to in the 1930s. Topics such as exclusion, intolerance and racial inequality will be discussed, focusing on how Steinbeck’s unique language facilitates him in exposing racial discrimination and promoting equality and justice.
With their 7th graders, Dr. Ourania Chatsiou and Ms. Helen Dalakas focused on the genre of personal narrative with the reading of the first chapter of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which she establishes her powerful voice against racial discrimination and inequality. Using this as a springboard, students were introduced to the history of racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the current global situation regarding race relations in the United States.
GRADE 7, 8 , 9
In her ELL and Language & Literature classes, Ms. Helen Dalakas observed Black History Month with Martin Luther King Jr. in mind. The students watched, read, and discussed his iconic “I Have a Dream’ speech. Using the speech as a springboard, the students did lots of creative tasks: ELL 7 students designed gift bags promoting the ideals of equality and freedom that defined MLK’s life and ideology; the ELL 8 and ELL9 students wrote poems about freedom as well as time capsule letters, taking on the role of African American individuals back in 1963, describing to someone in the future what it felt like to listen to MLK’s speech.
In their IB1 English A Language & Literature classes, Ms. Darya Kostikina and Dr. Ourania Chatsiou observed Black History Month as part of their literary unit on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah (2013), a coming-of-age story or bildungsroman set in a post-colonial/migratory frame, which amongst others focuses on the evolution of racism, the tension of adaptation and resistance to white norms, the re-writing of black-female sexuality, and the concepts of Afropolitanism and a hybrid/transnational identity.
Their primary focus was on raising students’ awareness of modern-day forms of racism and of the fact that in many respects racism has assumed more subtle and nuanced forms that are potentially harder to detect and fight against but are as oppressive and disastrous as the more overt/blatant forms of racism and racial discrimination we’ve grown to be more alert to. Taking their cue from specific relevant extracts from the book, the students conducted online comparative research on the evolution of racism (from the beginning of slave-trade to the 21st century) and presented their findings in class. They discussed topics such as intersectionality, Eurocentric beauty standards (especially regarding hair), microaggressions, (biracial/bicultural) identity formation, language, incarceration in America, colorism, and more, through the lens of the IB Diploma Fields of Inquiry and Global Issues.
Ms. Evdoxia Adelfopoulou and her Gr. 7, 8 and 10 students of Native Greek Language & Literature studied an article by Demetrios Rhombotis, which reveals the actions taken by Greek people living in the USA during the 1960s to support the African American people’s fight for justice and freedom. The students discussed the courage and revolutionary spirit of these people, as well as their invaluable contribution to safeguarding black people’s fundamental rights. The lesson focused on exploring the Greek immigrants’ relations with the American community during the Civil Rights Movement and instilling in the students the values of equality, justice and solidarity.
Mr. Konstantinos Kakaroudis and his Secondary Physical Education-Health students discussed Kobe Bryant’s life and achievements and how his work ethic can be transferred and adjusted to any aspect of the students’ life.