Seventh-grade stories of place

Working in their history classes in groups of three or four, seventh graders were recently tasked with writing a one-act play to tell the story of a city in Southwest Asia or North Africa through the eyes of someone who lives there. Cities covered included Kabul, Istanbul, Mecca, Baghdad, Dubai, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beirut, Tehran, Damascus, Ramallah, and Marrakech. Students spent a week researching their cities and developing their plot and characters. After building their knowledge about the historical, geographical, and cultural background about their cities, students wrote their plays to depict that information, collected props and costumes, memorized their lines, and rehearsed.

On May 13, the entire seventh grade gathered in the Lower School Amphitheater to watch their classmates’ performances. Reenactments included stories about a Turkish grandmother from 1,000 years ago, a mother and daughter who made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and a woman in Kabul dressing as a man in order to support her family. The morning concluded with groups exchanging constructive feedback with each other about their plays and performances.

The plays enabled students to delve deeply into the stories of their selected cities while also gaining an appreciation for the wide diversity of the region.