Sharing Stories & Lessons

Students at Whitfield read a variety of genres of literature. In eighth grade English, they examine how protagonists and other voices acquire and express their identities. Through a wide range of assignments students strengthen their critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills.

For their first unit this year, students studied the style and structure of Aesop’s Fables then wrote their own original pieces. Each fable had to contain a clearly stated moral, introduce characters, situation, choice and consequences, and be 100-200 words in length. Students read their fables aloud in class and received feedback from their peers.

“It was helpful and interesting to tie Aesop Fables and the work we did with them into the new fables that we wrote,” said Anna Gau ‘24. “We were able to see what elements worked well in the old fables and put those techniques into our new ones.”

Anna’s fable featured two trees, a cedar tree that was ‘nice’ illustrated by its soft wood and an oak tree with hard wood that was ‘mean’.

“The moral in my fable is—accept and help others and they’ll help you back,” said Gau. “I think we need more kindness and acceptance in our world.”

Faculty member Tom Herman appreciates the concise storytelling and creative structure of fables.

“Fables appear to be so basic, but they actually pack a lot of punch,” said Mr. Herman. “Even though these fables were written 2,600 years ago, their messages are very 2019—the students think that’s pretty cool.”

In addition to reading their fables aloud in class, students will share their stories with students from North Side Community School (NSCS) during a visit to their Grand Center Campus on September 26, 2019. NSCS is a high-performing charter school in North St. Louis. Last year, Whitfield established a relationship with NSCS, that expands upon our Habits of Mind & Heart curriculum and creates opportunities for shared learning, for sharing perspectives and experiences, and for personal growth. Through workshops held on both campuses, Whitfield and NSCS middle schoolers engage in activities and dialogue about ethical conduct, cultural competence, citizenship, leadership, scholarship and mindfulness.

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