From Trimester exams toward the European Renaissance

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Dear Parents,

What an exciting time in the AJA middle school. Most pressing has been our preparation for the sixth graders’ very first round of trimester exams. The middle school faculty administers these exams in all middle school math and humanities classes. This term’s exams have four sections. The first is this Thursday, Nov. 19, over three lessons of vocabulary, our map of the Middle East, and the grammar of verbs (linking and non-linking) and adverbs (as distinct from adjectives). The second section will be this Friday, Nov. 20, and will contain two essays of four announced topics.

Monday, the students received graphic organizers of various sorts to assist with vocabulary. Students have often exaggerated the weight of these exams in the overall humanities grade. We find that the mere practice of preparing for these exams serves the students well beyond their time in the AJA middle school.

As soon as we finish our current unit, we will begin our investigation of the European Renaissance. Students will explore:

  • the art of Michelangelo and Raphael,
  • a novel on the home life of King Henry VIII from the perspective of his daughter, Mary Tudor, otherwise known as “Bloody Mary,”
  • the map of Early Modern Europe,
  • the history of the Protestant Reformation,
  • and the shrewdness of Niccolò Machiavelli
    with all this culminating in the scientific struggles of Galileo and the colonial endeavors westward. Each year, this is among the students’ favorite units. I am super excited for it.
    As usual, please be in touch with me should you have any questions or comments.
    Thanks,
    Chris