History, arts and a good deal of learning

  • Friday, October 25, 2013

Rachell Abell and Sara Lukridge perform an interpretive dance to Wade in the Water, telling the story of slavery.


I was taken and sold

I didn’t try to fight it

I let them take me

So begins a moving and thoughtful Haiku by Alston Middle School seventh grader Diamond Davis, titled Slaves. With metaphors alluding to the soul, the three Haikus speak to slavery.

We were butterflies

Inside of our cocoons

They were the W.A.S.Ps

The rivers flowed down

When our hearts rose up

We brought them down too.

Diamond performed her piece Friday as part of Prenn Wood’s class where he had incorporated history, creative writing and performance art for a critical thinking exercise about topics most pay little attention to.

Slavery, Columbus and capitalism are but three of the overall topics students chose from to study, understand and look at from a different point of view.

Christopher Columbus

Columbus he sailed

Coming to the Bahamas

He found those not even lost

He brought disease

Small pox plus more killed natives

They were dangerous

Should we celebrate

The good and bad things

Cause he came across?

Jasmine Graham offered a thoughtful perspective on the celebration of Columbus Day.

Wood teaches World History and, in his words, it is a GATE class. Gate stands for Great Attitude Toward Education because, according to the class, all kids are gifted and talented.

The class had a tough task. The assignment was to use Haiku narrations to tell a story. There had to be three Haiku parts, and it had to have a plot and make sense. They were then to use their arts major to show their learning. Assigned Aug. 26 with a first draft due Sept. 5, they mostly chose topics they thought would be “easy.”

But to a one, they discovered the project was “fun.”

“It’s a good way to learn, it’s an easier way to learn, because we get up and do we remember, we’re doing what we like so we learn, it’s getting involved with our core…,” they clamored, everyone speaking at once.

Everyone in the class has an arts specialty. It might be playing the clarinet, like Jasmine, or singing like Ashton Bowman who wrote new lyrics for Wade in the Water, or rapping, like Pasul Mitchell or dancing like Rachel Abell and Sara Lukridge who created an interpretive dance to Wade in the Water.

Whatever their core, they incorporated their knew understanding of their chosen topic and used their talent to communicate.

And then there was Gray Johnson’s take on capitalism….

Too Much


Money are trees care for it

But one must know how

The wind blows by forever

It sweeps away the money

Hold it close to you

But be careful

Money can eat up your life

So do not let it.

Wisdom from the young.

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