This week, 7th grade students of Ms. Thornburg, Mr. Egnot, and Mr. George brought various historical periods to life. Students transformed 10 classrooms into museum exhibits to display their creations and then came to life as various real historical characters, everything from Presidents to dictators; from selfless nurses to nameless spies, from an excruciatingly detailed Vietnamese war bunker to a beautifully-acted 1980 US Olympic hockey "miracle on ice" team.
Visitors got chills walking into the oddly cold red-bannered Nazi room and heard sobs in the rag-bedecked Holocaust room. The Vietnam room featured a huge helicopter and the Japan room door was adorned with swords. Each exhibit taught a lesson through its props or monologue and gave students and community members the opportunity to learn from each other.
Sometimes you see pictures of smiling children at their desks with books and paper, but an event like this is what the purpose of all that learning is. To make sense of history, to share what you've learned, to help others see and feel that time period and take those lessons into their own lives. We are grateful to the entire 7th grade team for bringing this experience to Piedmont.
A sea of seventh graders spontaneously rose to their feet today at the completion of Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz' talk this morning in our auditorium.
Dr. Spatz is professor emerita at UNCC ,the mother of a former Piedmont teacher, plus grandmother of several Piedmont alum. She agreed to share her story with our students at the request of our Humanities department. Students were riveted- they "knew" the holocaust but you never REALLY know something until you hear a first-hand story from someone who lived through it.
Though her talk and introductory film clip, students learned things that are not common knowledge about the holocaust on the political arena and in its details in her own life and that of those most affected, including:
Memorable quotes paraphrased from Dr. Spatz via my live-tweet of this important occasion:
Upon arrival at Auschwitz-Buchenwald concentration camp :
On surviving a concentration camp:
On what she wants students to take away from her talk:
Celebrating Piedmont : a blog of Happy Happenings
"Celebrating Piedmont" logs only a small fraction of the learning magic the teachers of CMS' Piedmont Middle School, an IB World School. create daily. In that sense, it is authored by all the staff and students of Piedmont. It is curated by Ms. Gurthie who can be reached at the icons above. She'll be happy to brag about Piedmont's teachers and students any chance she gets! Please note this blog has only just begun and we have so much to show off! Come back again soon!