Sunday, September 25, 2011

Caroline's Classes

History & Government of SW Africa

In history class we have begun our study of the Apartheid through the lens of Nelson Mandela. This past week we spent time in Qunu, the small village where Nelson Mandela was raised from ages 2 to 10. We visited the Nelson Mandela Museum in the nearby town of Mthatha, slid down the “sliding rock” that Mandela slid down as a child, and toured the exact spot Madiba (his clan name) was born in the village of Mveso. The girls wrote an eloquent letter to Mr. Mandela thanking him for his contributions to South Africa and to the world that was hand delivered to Mr. Mandela's home in Qunu! In addition to studying Mandela, the students are working on oral presentations about famous figures of the Apartheid era and reading and responding to My Traitor's Heart. In this memoir the author struggles to come to terms with his Afrikaner identity as he reflects on the complexities of race relations in South Africa. In the coming weeks, as we make our way towards down the Cape, we will continue our study of Nelson Mandela and the anti-Apartheid movement and take a closer look at the current politics and government of South Africa.

SW Africa Literature & Composition

In literature class we have begun the early stages of writing an analytical essay exploring a theme in The Power of One. We are a week away from finishing this novel, and class discussion has been lively! In addition to reading, writing about, and discussing The Power of One, the students wrote metaphor poems beginning with the phrase, “I am...” We just arrived at a beautiful piece of coastline along the Indian Ocean, and the girls shared their poems with each other by shouting their words into the ocean. They are talented poets, and their honesty, creativity, and power with words impress me. Here is an example of one student's metaphor poem (more student work to come!):

I Am”

I am a passport

I belong to one place

but inside I have traces of the world.

My stamps are my scars,

telling stories of where I've been.

I am a passport

tired and scuffed up after a long journey,

but always there when the opportunity arises to explore.

I am a passport

when staying still, I collect dust

and I am only at home

when finally being carried, once again,

to a new land to discover.

I am a passport

I may be dented, but I'm not broken

I may wander, but I'm never lost

I may be property to one country

but I belong to the world.

--Tate, Junior, New York

We look ahead to our backpacking trip and mid-terms in the coming weeks; in class we anticipate an oral poetry assignment and writing a college essay.


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