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Grade 7: Sacred Spaces, Sacred Places

After returning from their class trip to Washington D.C., Grade 7 students in Mr. Sean Keefe’s history class reflected on the spaces they explored and the stories these spaces told. “We go to D.C. and we see a lot of great things,” Mr. Keefe said. “This project is meant to encourage students to draw more meaningful connections with a space they saw and express how and why it impacted them.” As a part of the project, students research a monument or memorial in Washington D.C. that felt special to them. Then, they creatively reflect on why that space was especially important and how the story it told was sacred. “Some of them have very personal connections, like a grandfather who worked for the newspapers in D.C., or an uncle who fought in the Vietnam War,” Mr. Keefe said. 
Students were able to choose how they presented their research and reflections. “I love that the kids get that ownership of their work,” Mr. Keefe said. “They are completely self-directed in deciding what space to research and how they want to express their connection to it.” Allowing students the freedom of choice while crafting a creative piece enhances the quality of their learning and encourages them to care about their work on a personal level. “A lot of them have used the skills they know best when building their projects,” Mr. Keefe said. “That’s my favorite part: to see their personality come through. It’s empowering for them.” 

The students presented their reflections on their chosen D.C. spaces in front of their classmates and discussed what made each of these spaces sacred to them. The projects ranged from large to small, and students utilized mediums like watercolor painting, songwriting, and 3D printing to represent their reflections. “It’s great to see what they’ve worked on and how they’ve interpreted something that others may have decided to walk past,” Mr. Keefe said. “They’re all really good at taking on challenges and embracing the journey rather than the outcome.” 
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.