This past year, MPCS continued its innovation-grant curriculum for project-based collaboration among different grade-levels. High school Honors Government students had the unique opportunity to explore the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement alongside fifth grade and kindergarten students. Seniors were charged with the task of mentoring the fifth graders as they collaborated on a children’s storybook focusing on civil rights and citizenship. The books were specially crafted with original artwork, computer-generated designs, and a great deal of creative thought in the storylines.
Fifth-grade student, Tessa, shared, “I liked brainstorming because you could say whatever you wanted since it was our book that we got to write!” Topics included in the books were citizenship, freedom, honesty, patriotism, respect, and racial equality, to name a few. Once the books were bound and printed, the older students gathered with the kindergarten classes to read them. The finished products are currently catalogued and housed in the Weber Collaboratory for lower school teachers to continue to use in their classrooms.
Engaging Full CommUNITY Involvement
In keeping with the vision of the project, the collaborating teachers wanted to create additional “experiences” on campus that honored the history of the Civil Rights movement. After visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights last spring, the inspiration was in full swing. The Appalachia Service Project mission-trip students put their carpentry skills to work in order to build church pews to commemorate the tragic bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in September 1963. Mrs. Hooley’s high school art students created hanging panels that resembled stained glass windows to honor the four young African American girls who lost their lives in that event.
As the pews and artwork were installed outside of the Hughes Gymnasium, students and staff members were able to gain a greater appreciation for the sacrifices so many men and women made during the Civil Rights Movement to achieve equality and freedom for generations to come. To further enhance the display, an interactive QR code was available for those who wanted to hear more about the people affected by the bombing.
Influence Beyond Classroom Boundaries
One of the greatest blessings of a PK3-12 campus is the opportunity to collaborate as both teachers and students. Senior Rachel Bacchus remarked, “This type of project brings together students of all ages to learn about a key part of our nation’s history.” The mentor relationships that developed go far beyond the simple tasks, but they truly foster a sense of community among our students of all ages.
As we continue efforts to promote diversity and CommUNITY at Mount Paran Christian School, engaging in activities that shed light and perspective to historical events enables students to go forth with passion and fervor to do more Kingdom work.
Amy Schwan serves as a high school honors and AP history teacher at Mount Paran Christian School.
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