Stemming from MLK Day last week, students in all grades looked to apply his core values of empathy and kindness. Jen led primary school students in thinking about the effects of engaging in acts of kindness everyday, and how small actions can make a lasting impact on others. Students conceptualized different plans, then went about choosing ways to distribute their ideas to friends and family. Everyone wrote notes, designed small drawings, or wrote emails, and students took them home to place in strategic locations around their households. Figuring that surprise may evoke the best reactions, hiding spots included parents’ work spaces, heavily traveled walkways within the home, siblings’ rooms, and the pockets of family member’s coats to be discovered by planned accident. Likewise, students looked for ways that they could be helpful around the house, such as making their own meals, caring for pets, and cleaning up after themselves. And, true to form, the ‘Kindness Ninjas’ (as yet still unidentified but still highly active) continued their ongoing quest to spread good cheer by leaving notes around campus. In the middle school, students took the same contexts to a bit deeper application. On Tuesday, in class, they listened to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” in its entirety, sifting through the portions they had heard before and adding responses and questions to the larger aspects of what they hadn’t known previously. Then, they set about responding to the speech in the form of a vocab quiz emailed to Jed. As with all such quizzes, the idea was meant to use the list of available terms (always open-note, and cumulative over the year) to articulate the complexity of abstract concepts such as equality, segregation, and ethos. The 5-6 class thought of ways in which they fit into the ethos of the speech, themselves, and the responsibilities they have within their society as roughly 10-year-olds in 2021, nearly sixty years after the speech was delivered. Meanwhile, the 7-8 went deeper still, identifying the ethos of Dr. King’s speech and its striving for national inclusivity, then contrasting those ideals with some of Macbeth’s destructive self-interest in Act I of the play, a process that furthers the context by which they’ll be exploring and critiquing the spiraling effects of greed and irrational ambitions in the larger play over the coming weeks. Each project, in all grade levels, gave students opportunity to create tangible, real-world expansions on Dr. King’s aspirations, a process that they will continue to manifest in myriad ways as the year unfolds.