St. Mary's Upper School curriculum is taking its own approach to "ted-style" talks. Our Junior Class is presenting "Voices of St. Mary's" in Rose Theater this week as part of midterm exams for English and History. These three to four minute presentations, accompanied by visual slides that incorporate principles of good design, tell a compelling story that describes what the girls have learned and how they have been changed by something in our English or History curriculum this semester.
Teachers opened the project by having the girls immerse themselves in some ways different writers talk about how they've been changed by something they've learned. The girls read Novel Finding, How Literature Inspires Empathy, self-selected entries from the Atlantic's By Heart section, and Why Study History. They were then asked, what has inspired you to build empathy, or to recognize the complexities of the social relationships that surround us in society, or to analyze and reason about complicated social situations and adversity, or to become more open-minded and wise, or to think creatively and imaginatively about issues in our lives and the world? From there, the students began creating their own ideas and topics for presentation.
In addition to faculty support and guidance, the girls were able to hear and learn from our 2017 Louise T. Archer Artist in Residence, Lizzie Widdicombe. While visiting campus in early December, Lizzie shared what it is like to work as an editor for the New Yorker. She also talked about how the Talk of the Town section is devoted to shorter pieces and that although they need to be timely, since the New Yorker is weekly, they had to be able to provide a "fresh" take on the news. This was extremely helpful for the girls to hear because their talks are restricted to such a short time limit and because many of the topics have been talked about for centuries and it is important to find a fresh approach. Lizzie worked with the girls in various ways during her visit providing feedback and sharing ideas.
The girls have created, rehearsed, and engaged the curriculum and applied it to their lives and their world, and are sharing their insights with our community this week.