Humanities – Fall Semester
From 12:00 pm to 1:50 pm
Humanities teach us about others through language, culture, and history. They teach us to ask critical questions about art, stories, history, and events. They push us to think creatively about the world around us, and to help come up with solutions for the future. Learning about the world around us and our past, helps to be more engaged and better equipped to deal with the problems of today. The humanities will grow students intellectually and emotionally and prepare them for the future in every arena of life– raising a family, starting a business, writing a book, engaging in local and global politics, joining the workforce, volunteering and helping others, and much more. In the past we have had classes about Montana history with field trips to nearby ranches or local government buildings, ghost stories with a trip to Garnet Ghost Town, American history, jazz music, cooking and culture, creative writing, poetry and short story reading, and more. Our humanities block is based on student interest. Families who sign up early will be directly involved in planning and organizing our semester. Even if your student signs up on the last day, he or she will have choice in classes, as our age groups are flexible and overlap.
Humanities ages 5-8 will be taught by Susan Stapleton. We will be studying the ancient times through stories. We will study Nomads, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, first cities in India and China. We will be coloring maps, make a Ming bowl, do some cave painting, make a hieroglyphic scroll, taste some food and do many other fun activities. Every class will be an adventure into the ancient times.
Humanities ages 8-13 will be taught by Elaine Anderson-Wood. “Secret Societies” From genetics to computers to ancient Viking runes and modern governments, codes have literally been the key to creating and unlocking different aspects of society for centuries. I’m always struck by the fact that students wish to create personal identities, secret names and even languages within the classroom setting. I think it gives children a creative outlet, a sense of their own strength and identity and yet a way to connect in a unique way with peers. The direction we take in this class will unfold depending a great deal upon student interest. My hope is that our experience will evolve like a living, “secret” code, billowing out from each student through his or her personal sense of curiosity and wonder.
Students will have an opportunity to decipher, create & share their own secret codes that are both math and language based. We will touch on the importance of the telegraph as well as the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII… how codes make communication easier or more difficult depending upon the purpose or situation. We’ll also discuss the ways in which sign language, musical notation and even recipes can be considered a type of code in their own right. To highlight the importance of friendship and good citizenship, we’ll discuss the way secrets can make an individual or a group of individuals feel on an emotional level- usually very special or terribly ostracized. Time permitting, we’ll discuss codes of compassion, conduct and ethics within today’s career choices and how those might relate to earlier codes of societal conduct, including medieval chivalry, the samurai and the code of the cowboy.
We’ll dig into a few of the secret societies that have gained popularity through the media and have been prevalent right here in Montana. Our first history “stop”?… Bannack Ghost Town, where some of Montana’s first Freemasons met in the upper level of the school house. Great mystery and controversy still revolve around this society, including the hanging of Henry Plummer and the numbers 3-7-77. Were these numbers even related to the actions of the Freemasons? Did they stand for the amount of time the vigilantes gave “undesirables” to get out of town, or darker yet- the dimensions of their graves? Are these just tall tales that have nothing to do with real history? Whatever the case, it’s fascinating that 3-7-77 is still in use today (the insignia for Montana’s Highway Patrol)! Journalist and historian, Rick Allen, still hopes that the full story behind these numbers might be buried in someone’s attic. Could it be yours?
On a more global level, we’ll discuss individual leaders and the circumstances which create the rise and fall of various groups and ideologies. We’ll discuss the ways in which rumor & speculation in a technologically based society can, at times, distort & even change reality. In addition to this, how conspiracy theory has come to play a role in many current views. We’ll talk about why mystery fascinates us and how it drives us as humans! How it leads us to read scary books under the cover of darkness, how it creates both terror and intrigue, promise and greed. And finally, we’ll highlight how important it can be to recognize the power held within the secrets we share and keep. How specialized knowledge can and should be used to create vast and positive potential for ourselves and society at large!
Humanities ages 13-18 will be taught by Janean M Sepko. ART HISTORY I— Students will focus their studies on an ancient civilization of their choosing. They will analyze the art forms, sculptures, architecture and paintings reflecting the culture of their civilization. We will study Egypt, Persia/Turkey, Greece, Viking, Rome, Medieval Europe (Crusades/Moors). Their projects will be displayed and taught at a student led cultural fair.