Humanities & Language Arts

Through a wide range of texts, unique courses, and a rigorous writing program, Maret teaches students to analyze and debate diverse topics in history and literature and challenges them to think creatively—and proactively—about the world around them.

Goal

Maret strives to create intellectual leaders who will fully engage in a society centered on equity and who have a deep understanding of the world’s most pressing issues.

How We Teach

Lively discussions, debates, and deep dives into challenging issues are hallmarks of our Humanities classes. Using a variety of thought-provoking strategies, teachers let the students take center stage, while encouraging courageous but congenial discussion. Innovative group protocols and stimulating activities create a fluid learning environment that challenges students to take nurtured risks.

Curriculum Snapshot

LOWER SCHOOL and MIDDLE SCHOOL students take core classes in English and history. The focus is on the fundamentals of reading, writing, and literary analysis.

UPPER SCHOOL students are required to earn seven credits in the humanities, choosing required courses and from a wide variety of history and literature electives.

Maret Literary and Visual Arts Magazine


Nationally recognized as a leading independent school publication, Maret Literary and Visual Arts Magazine showcases poetry, prose, photography, and illustration by our talented Upper School students.

View Excerpts

A Sampling of Middle School Humanities

PERSUASIVE MINI-DOCUMENTARY PROJECT

For this project, groups of students create persuasive mini-documentaries to convince their peers in middle school to change something about the way they think or act.

Project Overview

Because they are creating these pieces for a large, real audience, their goal is to impact peers in a meaningful way. Topics are student-generated and often include arguments about Facebook usage, environmentalism, bullying and intolerance, eating habits, and more.

During class instruction about the project, students learn how to efficiently approach the research process, how to evaluate websites for credibility, how to use scholarly databases for research, and how to cite sources for images, facts, and quotations both during films and in Works Cited pages at the end of their films. They engage in genre inquiry about the structure and style of persuasive documentaries by analyzing the effectiveness of professional examples. They also study persuasive structures, including Monroe’s Motivated sequence and persuasive appeals.

Finally, they bring their messages to life by writing and narrating scripts, gathering original film footage, supplementing with still images, and creating a soundtrack using movie-making software. At the end of the process, students present their documentaries at a Film Festival during a middle school assembly.

Teacher Reflection

EACH YEAR I FIND MYSELF SO IMPRESSED BY THE DOCUMENTARIES THAT GROUPS CREATE. STUDENTS’ RESEARCH IS SUBSTANTIAL, THEIR COMPOSITION IS CREATIVE AND THOUGHTFUL, AND THEIR FINAL PRODUCTS ARE COMPELLING.

The persuasive films have shifted my understandings and attitudes, and I have no doubt that they have made a positive impact on students within the Maret community as well. It is great to see students publishing their work to real audiences in a meaningful way. The project involves significant effort, as students are working to develop and apply understanding about a new genre, about research, and about technology, all while practicing working effectively as a team. Because of the amount of learning that happens and the quality of work that students produce and share, this has become one of my favorite projects to teach.

Middle School Humanities Teacher

Student Reflections

THE DOCUMENTARY PROJECT WAS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY FAVORITE PROJECTS OF THE EIGHTH GRADE YEAR. IT WAS ALSO ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING.

Despite the fact that you learn things like how to make a movie using iMovie and how to convey your opinions using a documentary rather than an essay, the most important lesson I got out of it is how to work well in a group. We had to figure out how to divide our work evenly, listen to other people’s opinions (no matter how hard it may be!), and how to pull everybody’s ideas together in a way that makes sense for a viewer of the final movie. Despite all of these challenges, it was still an incredibly fun project. Shooting video was very entertaining. And once you start combining everything in iMovie, it’s the greatest feeling to know that it’s all finally coming together. The most interesting (and my favorite) part of the project for me was the editing. A lot of our clips and quotes didn’t seem too important on their own, but once we put them all together and added music and pictures, it was really amazing how they transformed into something special and powerful. Overall, I loved working on this project. It was definitely a demanding one; nonetheless, every time I re-watch our group’s video, I get more and more proud of the end result and how much we accomplished.

Eighth Grade Student

Overall, I loved working on this project. It was definitely a demanding one; nonetheless, every time I re-watch our group’s video, I get more and more proud of the end result and how much we accomplished. Eighth Grade Student

More about Maret