Monster, Space Traders, the Buddha, and SO much more!

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Dear Parents,

The eighth graders have been hard at work on a number of activities. First, due to events over the summer in the St. Louis area, we began the year by reading Walter Dean Myers lauded book Monster, a novel about a boy from Harlem on trial for murder. The exploration of the book’s many themes culminated in our consideration of Derrick Bell’s fascinating science-fiction short story The Space Traders. Please feel free to ask your student what skills we refined in our reads of both these pieces. The text of this riveting short story can be found online by clicking on the title in this paragraph.

We have also been working on exploring the diversity of East and South Asian culture. The students began the unit with minimal foundational concepts covering indigenous Chinese thought and religion, the art and architecture of Hinduism, and the complex person of the Buddha. From here, we began what has perhaps been our most challenging project yet.

Instead of gathering published information about each culture, groups have been charged with exploring those aspects of South and East Asian culture that would not be found in textbooks, with the premise that we, as Jews, do not often lead the lives of Jewish ritual and practice found in books about Judaism. Students have interviewed and sought out expert testimony about the lives and practices of people from East and South Asia, presenting a lot about just one element from the lives of the interviewees.

We have also begun organizing ourselves before we create our own Writer’s Almanac that represents the relevant information to the lives of teenagers and students. Ask your students for more information about this year-long endeavor.

Enjoy the Sukkot holiday!

Chris

The Space Traders