Westridge School Projects Ask Students to Become Historians of the Pandemic
7th Grade Quarantine Time Capsules
In Gigi Bizar’s Cultural Studies class, 7th graders are becoming “historians of their own experiences” by creating quarantine time capsules including primary document sources that could be read by students of this pandemic many years in the future. Students have been tasked with collecting or creating mementos, family pictures, news articles, collages, and journal entries to memorialize this time in our nation’s history through the lens of their personal experiences. In addition to the physical capsule, there is a digital component; students are posting video essays about their time in quarantine on Flipgrid. “This assignment,” Ms. Bizar explained, “was created to build a stronger community in the 7th grade and for students to be able to both look around them and within to make sense of the history that is unfolding.”
World Views Class Processes Pandemic Through Podcasts
Jennifer Golub-Marcus’s 9th grade world views classes have become historians with their most recent assignment to create podcasts addressing a topic related to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the toilet paper crisis and conspiracy theories to how families are connecting and the search for a vaccine, students are taking on issues that are important to them personally during this historic time.
Ms. Marcus first created the podcast assignment last year to teach students about Greek and Roman history and mythology. While this year’s topics have strayed wildly, the skills students are learning remain the same. “A podcast, like a thesis, has to have a central focus but in the podcast students have to be much more in tune with the audience experience and participation,” said Ms. Marcus. “This assignment makes me feel like I’m teaching ancient storytelling. We could all be sitting around a fire and bringing us all the way back to doing what we as human beings do best: telling a good story.”
Click here to listen to a few of their podcasts. (The first podcast will play automatically. Click “download” next to each title to listen to additional podcasts.)
Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit www.westridge.org.