Monday, March 10, 2014

Thanks for asking!

Students may not concur, but one of my favorite times of year is the “Second Semester Research Paper Season.” 

All of our 9th-graders are studying some aspect of pre-1500 world history, and I am personally enjoying every minute of it!  
Sideways view of 9th grade history
book cart and its contents
One of the best things about being a librarian is the fact that I learn something new every day.  What have I learned from our 9th grade students?  Mateo has taught me that Pythagoras discovered the diatonic scale, and that he was killed because of his fear of beans.  You read that correctly.  Read about Pythagoras and his ‘interesting’ views about living beings and rules of life, in general, and you’ll discover a man who isn’t simply known for his theorem.  To quote Bad Religion, “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.”  Ari’s question about Vladimir I led me to read about the man who once was a pagan with seven wives, until he converted to Christianity and founded the Russian state.  Aubrey’s topic was Scipio Africanus, about whom I knew absolutely nothing.  Why is it that I know about Hannibal, but not Scipio Africanus, who defeated Hannibal and never lost a single battle as a commander of Roman forces?  Maybe Hannibal is remembered because of the elephants…?

Our AP Art History class is working on their research of a non-Western work of art.  It’s a challenging assignment, using peer-reviewed, scholarly sources, critical analysis, and going far beyond a Wikipedia-type paper.  Thank you to Marina and Christine, who have selected works by Ando Hiroshige, whose woodblock landscape prints are absolutely magnificent!  
Hiroshige woodcut
Kate’s selection of the Taj Mahal led me to read about Indian architecture and the beautiful mix of styles incorporated into this wonder of the world.  Steven checked out a book about wabi-sabi, not for his paper, but to read for pleasure. 

Our students will often apologize for ‘bothering’ us with questions.  Please, don’t apologize--we love your questions!  They lead us to learn more about you and what you’re learning.  In turn, we are enriched by learning right along with you.  Please keep those questions coming!


Mrs. Hodge

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