Raising young advocates

The eighth grade Civil Rights Trip to Georgia and Alabama comes after the students' study of the American Civil Rights Movement.


But it is the culmination of lessons that begin in Gordon's early years.


That's one reason why teachers from younger grades go on the trip.


It helps to have a peek at what it all looks like in eighth grade.


While the eighth grade was on their trip last week, Gordon's youngest students were working hard to be forces for positive change. 


Nursery, Preschool, Young Kindergarten and Kindergarten have been launching their Pennies for Penguins fundraiser, alongside their third grade buddies.


The project has allowed each grade to delve into challenging math and natural history topics.


The study spilled over into their work in other disciplines, as well.


Today, they had a visit from a representative from Mystic Aquarium.


It was their chance to ask their burning questions, and show off their knowledge, with someone who works full time on this issue.


(The same could be said of many of the eighth grade stops on the Civil Rights Trip)


Young Kindergarten and Kindergarten were working double time today, preparing five hundred bags of popcorn for tomorrow's Share the Warmth fundraising drive.


This is the latest iteration of an annual event, now in its fifteenth year. 


Proceeds go to replenish warm clothing supplies at a local social service organization.


The math possibilities are endless, with counting and addition but also estimation and simple multiplication.


Real world math: as of one pm Tuesday, students were tallying their total by counting the number of empty ziploc baggie boxes they had produced.


The project tests other skills, as well; today, they had to get up in front of Middle School at lunch, and tomorrow there will be many "thank yous" and plenty of small talk as they hand out popcorn to the entire school.


Again, these same manners will be tested again repeatedly throughout their Gordon careers, with the Civil Rights Trip serving as a final exam of sorts.


The third grade's music teacher went on the Civil Rights Trip this year.


That means she had the pleasure of seeing Gordon's eighth graders sing This Little Light of Mine at Dexter Avenue Church in Montgomery, Alabama.


Tonight, she'll see her third graders sing that same tune alongside fourth graders at the third and fourth grade concert.


For years, Gordon's music teachers have consciously brought themes of social justice into their work by teaching traditional and contemporary songs of celebration and resistance like this one, and talking about the role that group singing has played in protest movements in American history. more on this


At tonight's concert, fourth graders will sing a contemporary protest song they learned in a few weeks ago.


It's a call and response and tonight, they hope, maybe their parents will join in the song as well.


And maybe they'll get to teach it to someone in Alabama in a few years.

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