Special topics in middle school

Teacher Lou Ellen Kay enriches the middle-school curriculum with a special topics class each semester.  in Fall 2016, the class is biogeography, the study of the distribution of organisms and the consequences for the development of human cultures.  It’s based on critical reading of the noted book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond.  Students read chapters, take notes, and join in deep discussion, with occasional quizzes to test comprehension.  In AY 2015-16, the course was Chinese history and geography.  A core of the class was the Great Courses video on China by Ken Hammond.   Students viewed the videos and entered discussions of the significance that reaches down to our times.  Lou Ellen draws on deep research, her direct experience in China (and botany and 35 other nations, and more), and selected videos.