Middle School Musings: Seventh and Eighth Grade English

By Sampad Martin Kachuck

Despite the pandemic’s unmooring from our usual routines, life marches on in the Zoom worlds of middle school English. I want to acknowledge that for students, families, and teachers alike, our current new realities have certainly had an effect on our equilibriums. Some have adapted, others of us admittedly have occasions of struggle in terms of motivation and mood. I include myself, here.

Overall, I am so proud of the students for maintaining their integrity, investing wonderful creativity and individuality in their work, and for being patient with my clumsy ineptitude at technology. Here are some quick snapshots into recent class happenings.

English 7

After reading some classic and contemporary fairy tales (as well as a few parodies), students completed their own Fairy Tale project that included creating their own story along with character composites, a thematic overview, and art option! Another project recently completed was writing a crafted response to two stories dealing with racism and injustice, “Revolt of the Fairies” by Ted Posten and “The Scholarship Jacket” by Marta Salinas. Some students willingly offered their pieces to be shared with you, the larger community.

When I read Revolt of The Fairies: I thought about the unfairness of human rights…I think just because someone looks different or is from a different place than you are, they are still human and you should treat them that way. When someone tries out for the lead role in the play you have to consider their talent, look past the color of their skin, see the true potential in their talent. – Amelie Zands Read more

 In conclusion “Revolt of the Fairies” by Ted Poston made me realize how people used to be judged by their appearance and were put in a category of class. I am glad that I live in an era that has evolved in not being as racist as people used to be. Slowly and surely racism should end because we are all humans and nobody is better than anybody. We all matter in this world and everybody has a place. – Destiney Alvarez Read more

It’s difficult to rethink, or take back a judgement that you have already made, because then we have to rethink our prior thoughts, and beliefs. It is far harder to judge someone, who we know does not judge us back. That is the main reason we people judge others, is because we are scared of what others may be thinking of us. – Emi Lord Read more

Why would you make me pay when I am the one who has worked so hard for eight years to get good grades? I have been expecting and working very hard to get this scholarship jacket for a very long time. It doesn’t make sense to me why you would make someone pay for something that is supposed to be a gift for getting high grades. It is very disappointing. I stillrespect your decision even though I don’t believe it is the right one. – Kinsey Don Carlos Read more

English 8

Students are busily invested in vibrant arenas of societal issue. In our race and equality unit we experienced voices of a multitude of authors, essayists, poets, and playwrights regarding the challenges of prejudice and discrimination. These same themes of injustice and inequality emerged in our gender unit, examining the issues and tensions of gender bias, inequality and negative stereotyping. For both units, students engaged in a variety of projects, written and visual. Our recent venture in utopian (albeit more dystopian) literature meant reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, as well as works by Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and George Orwell, determining if there is such thing as a perfect world. From these works, we ask, what is the price of freedom, of individuality? From these contemplations, we moved to the love unit; our forays into the mysteries of heart included works from poets, song lyricists, stories and essays. Students submitted their own poetic odes of dedicated love- some wrote about romantic urgings and separations, others expressed deep passions for the ocean, skateboards, soccer, a praying mantis even. The assignment was to use five lines from an assortment of readings, two lines from a couple of Shakespeare’s sonnets, as well as their own created nine lines of prose. Some extracted from favorite songs. I was so moved, that with students’ permission, some of their works are shared for the community to peruse.

Because you are the infection in my blood that runs through my veins

and always returns to my heart

 So sign me up for blood transfusions 

Because no matter how much I try to get rid of you,

You always stick

You always leave a residue – By Anonymous Read more

 ~

Wait

Turn around

Your life flashes before your eyes

A wave crashed down

The lifeboat sank

The net broke

And the pillow torn – By Anonymous Read more

 

So the love you feel for yourself is powerful for your cotton candy heart. 

Don’t let someone through throw it into a coin slot

So you have to ride a carousel filled with your insecurities. 

And you should know that our bodies don’t define us.

They are temporary. – By Sophia Manzur Read more

We end the year in both classes with a reflective writing regarding our experience together, sharing what readings we found inspirational or meaningful, what created writings were enjoyable and rewarding, and what new goals we have for ourselves as writers, readers, and thinkers. While I wish the year had ended in a non-pandemic way, I am filled with gratitude for our students, and you, our families, and wish everyone safety, health, and peace of mind.

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Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, [email protected]

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.