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8th Grade: Revolutions Main Lesson

In December, the 8th grade learned about revolution, reform and paradigm shifts. We began with the Iroquois story of ‘The Peacemaker,’ a Huron Indian that brought the message of peace to the warring tribes that formed the Iroquois Confederacy. This revolutionary change from violent conflict to peaceful cooperation is represented in the symbols of the Tree of Peace, the bundle of arrows, the protective gaze of the eagle and the leadership of the women. Ms. Crozier led the students in a pastel drawing of the Tree of Peace.

We continued our studies with a close reading of the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and the meanings of the words, ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  The drama of the French and Haitian Revolutions demonstrated the struggle for freedom and dignity in the face of an old system that was coming to an end. Toussaint L’ouverture, who is sometimes called the George Washington of Haiti, was an important hero for his country. We heard stories of his life, and we read William Wordsworth’s poem, “To:Toussaint”, as well as quotations of his speeches and writings.. Each student wrote a biographical essay and created a portrait of this great leader. Students were excited to learn how Napoleon sold land to the United States so that he could invade Haiti in order to bring back slavery to the new country. Learning about change through reform and paradigm shifts brings hope for a better world.