“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. “

 – A Gift of Love: The classic collection of sixteen sermons preached and compiled by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gr 5 student discussion during recess
Students in Gr 2 working on their main lesson books

|||   In the 4th/5th Grades, Mr. Loosli has been focusing on the themes of fallibility and courage. When he spoke about Dr. King with his class, he emphasized that Dr. King was a human being who brought a beautiful light, but who also made mistakes and recognized them. He highlighted the importance of having the courage to admit that you made a mistake. Then you could pick yourself up and make amends. Mr. Loosli finds that this message is especially important for children at this age, who have the temptation to hide their mistakes rather than use them for learning. But our mistakes give us an opportunity for building community through honesty and reconciliation.

In 2nd Grade, Ms. Sakai also focused on the theme of courage. She first taught the story of Ruby Bridges, and discussed how much courage it took for Ruby just to come to school. Then she taught the story of Rosa Parks, and how she had the courage to say “no” to something unfair in order to create a space for “yes” to everyone. Next week, the 2nd Grade will take a field trip on the bus, to deepen their sense of the difference that Rosa Parks made. She connected these two stories to Martin Luther King, Jr., who supported the bravery of both Ruby and Rosa.

Gr 2 drawing of Ruby Bridges walking to school
Gr 2 write up on Ruby Bridges

Black History is important every day of the year. However, the nationwide recognition of Black History Month provides an opportunity to emphasize it in the classroom. 

2nd Grade took a ride on a bus as a class as part of their unit on Rosa Parks. Ms. Sakai learned that it was hard to teach about Rosa Parks’ courage when many children had never been on a bus before! She taught Rosa Parks as part of her “Great People” Language Arts block, in which she featured Americans who did selfless and courageous acts that inspired others.
Gr 2 students take a trip using public transportation
Gr 6 African Studies - Main Lesson work
As part of the 6th Grade block on world geography, Ms. Wolfe is focusing on Africa. The students are doing reports on African countries in which they are writing and illustrating postcards of scenes from their chosen country.

In the 7th Grade, the students read about Alessandro de Medici, who was Duke of Florence during the late Renaissance and was of African ancestry; and also Jessica Watkins, who will be going to the ISS and will be the first Black woman to go to the Moon in NASA’s upcoming Artemis program. Most recently they learned about Langston Hughes and took dictation of the beautiful poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In studying Martin Luther King, Jr and Langston Hughes, they talked about the historical context of the word “Negro.”

Gr 7 teacher writes poem on the chalkboard