9th Grade Overview
Theme: Discover Your Journey
Every GMS 9th grader is expected to complete a semester project that connects what they are studying in their English, Health / Ethnic Studies, and Honors Technical Script Writing and Analysis classes. They will improve their analytical skills through a rigorous Linked Learning approach, drawing connections between literary concepts, styles, and media itself, in order to create work that is current and relevant. As they write, plan, design, edit, distribute and exhibit their work, they will learn about standards of professional performance and the protocols for success in a group-based environment. They will also continue to develop the speaking, reading, writing and analytical skills they've learned during GMS classes and will continue to use in college and beyond.
Project: Coming of Age
Essential Question: What does it mean to be coming of age as a teenager today? What unique challenges and issues do you face that previous generations did not face? Conversely, what challenges and issues are universal to all generations?
In their English and film/video classes, students learn about coming of age themes as they relate to a main character in a book, short story, or film. A coming-of-age story focuses on the change of a character from youth to adulthood. These stories tend to rely on dialogue or internal monologue (conversation) rather than action, and are often set in the past.
Each student will individually write a coming of age narrative that will be due in their English class. They will then create a sound recording of their piece in their Script Writing and Analysis class. For the narrative, students will describe a significant event or time in their life that taught them a lesson or helped them grow and change.
Project: The Hero's Journey
Essential Question: What does it mean to be a hero? What are the qualities that make someone a hero in your eyes?
The Hero's Journey is a popular and common story structure used both in ancient myths and the most modern of movies. To embark on a Hero's Journey, one must overcome fear and cross the threshold into an unknown world. For incoming freshmen, starting high school is a great leap into the unknown. We are all the heroes of our own journeys, and we must all follow our hearts and use our intuition to guide us along the path that is meant for us. Discovering the path we feel compelled to take teaches us who we are, and what we are made of. All of us will be tested along the way--perhaps not the same way that Odysseus is when he faces a ferocious, six-headed monster on one side, and a deadly whirlpool on the other. As ninth graders, your first tests may simply be in making friends, tackling a difficult subject, or figuring out how to organize your notebooks!
Using the Hero's Journey as a template this year, we will explore stories that have shaped our society from ancient times to the present, and we will discover stories that challenge us to look at ourselves and the world around us in a new way.
In our English class, we will read and discuss literature and non-fiction as it relates to the Hero's Journey. In our Ethnic Studies class, we will discuss how we as individuals, working together, can shape the stories of the present and the future to create the type of positive change the world so desperately needs.
For the semester collaborative project, students will work with resources from the MyHero Project to choose a hero in their community to interview. They will then create films in groups in their Script Writing and Analysis class about their chosen heroes, which may be shown at our spring film festival.