Hi Shasta, tell us a bit about yourself. Hi, my name is Shasta Gray, and this is my first year teaching at THINK Global School. I received my master's in teaching from the University of Alaska and have been teaching since 2012. I consider Alaska home, but I spent three years living and teaching in Thailand before joining TGS. I've always had an affinity for the great outdoors, and love...Read More
(Editor’s Note: The full TGS Symposium can be viewed at the bottom of the post)
The first annual TGS Symposium was held in Athens at the end of our 2014/2015 school year. The theme, Legends to Legacies, was chosen as a way to showcase exemplary student work crafted during our time in Greece. As a humanities team, we decided it was important to discuss the progression of thought, starting from Ancient Greece and moving into the contemporary. We started the term with a one-week sailing expedition across the Ionian Sea, recreating Odysseus’ legendary journey to his beloved Ithaca. While on board the ship, students read, reenacted, and discussed the central themes in Homer’s Odyssey. Once on the ground, the students’ focus turned to realizing the connections between the legends of old and how they translated in the legacy of Greece today.
We decided that the Greek symposium was a perfect way to showcase our collective understanding of Legends to Legacy. In ancient times this was an all-day wine drinking party, but luckily for us -and our high school audience- modernity has changed the symposium to a formal meeting where academics and experts discuss a chosen topic. To learn the rhetorical devices used in their presentations, students read Jay Heinrich’s Thank You for Arguing, which provided a fantastic primer on the art of persuasion. Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gardner, formed the basis for our discussion on philosophy. Jostein famously wrote:
The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder.
The goal of the THINK Dialogos: Dialogues Worth Having symposium was to engage our audience’s faculty of wonder through a series of student-produced dialogues. Each dialogue was to be researched, created and shared in a similar manner to the enlightening work of TED events around the world.
In the week leading up to the Symposium, the students of the ninth and tenth grade shared a handful of excellent speeches. Topics ranged from questioning the functionality of democracy, explaining the term cynicism and ancient Greek cynicism, the power of theater, the rise of neo-nazism in Greece, and so on. Once again, the students exceeded our expectations. We carefully selected dialogues worth having from the ninth and tenth grade students and asked them to share them once again during the symposium.
Members of the audience were encouraged to live-tweet ideas and questions they had to share with those watching the symposium digitally, and prizes were awarded throughout the event to highlight our audience members’ use of technology to continue the dialogue.
In true TGS fashion, we wanted to provide a holistic approach to the symposium day. During the intermissions and after the THINK Dialogos Talks we conducted an art exhibition, an art jam, a robotics showcase, musical performances, and spoken word poetry. The evening was capped off by the 4th Annual Traveling Shorts Film Festival, which featured short films along the theme of legends to legacies, told from the viewpoints of student filmmakers worldwide.