I remember when the class and I were sitting in a circle of chairs, around January. Block had written some roles and names up on the board. They all had to do with the French Revolution. He then explained that we were engaging in a roleplay, and we had to pick roles. People started to perk up and get excited; it was something we’d never done before. We assumed that we’d be acting the strange and foreign roles of French people. Block then explained each role to us before we started to pick. There weren’t that many roles, so some of us and to partner up and become the role together. Me and my friend decided to become Marie Antoinette, the insane queen of France. Everybody had picked their roles and started to type of introductions and reactions to different situations. We would then proceed to act out what we just typed. My friend and I made paper crowns for ourselves, just to make things more fun and interesting. We got to see the Revolution through the Queen’s eyes, making us see the Revolution in a different light.
This has continued throughout the year, with projects and assignments geared towards looking at things from a different ‘lense’ or perspective to gain a better insight on the world as a whole. This really struck out to me when we were at the beginning of our Sweatshop Unit in history. We had to complete a journal entry based off of a cartoon of three fish; each a different size. It made me look at things differently because since each fish had a different view of the world, it made the image of the world come together and reveal it’s true nature.
The way I learned this so efficiently was by hands-on work. During the year, we as a class have done two trials: one about the exploration to America and another one about the creation and management of sweatshops. The one that stood out most to me was the Cortes Trial. There was five different views on the colonization of the Americas, each one completely different. Especially between the System of Empire and Cortes. “Cortes interpreted the definition of the System differently than System wanted him to.” (Cortez Trial Notes). That quote sums it up. Cortes saw the System differently than what the System saw themselves as. It made me look at the conquest of America completely different.
We recently finished the book Night by Elie Wiesel. During one of the readings, Mr. Block wanted us to try and re-enact part of a scene from the book. It’s where Elie and a lot of other people were crammed into a train car. In the journal entry after that describing our experiences, I wrote: “This certainly doesn't compare to the real thing in Night : we were just in a classroom. We had places to go to the bathroom and food in our stomachs. They didn't. But it does give some insight.” Even though the reenactment was rough, it made us see through a different lense, in this case the lense of Elie, who was stuck in this traincar. It really made us think about the feelings and emotions the characters had and how bad the conditions were.
The action of being in other people’s shoes really gave me a better look at the world. Learning these things have opened my eyes up much larger and revealing things I've never would of seen without the help of these classes. Without them, I would be ignorant towards the rest of the world.
Here's other work I'm proud of: