Tales of Two Cities


Essential Questions

*How can we learn about a place by listening to its people?

*How can you learn the vibe of a place?

*How can we connect "regular" voices and mundane daily life to grand themes of history, culture, and geography?

*What makes a great and memorable story great and memorable?

Our year begins with stories of self, stories of our home, and stories of the world.

Part 1: Family Stories

Students will begin the year by interviewing parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, (etc.) in order to learn the story of their family and their family history. We will build community by sharing these stories with each other. Who are the members of our team? Where do we come from? What do we believe in? What are our stories?

Part 2: San Francisco Stories

Students will move from personal stories to stories of the broader community through a social, demographic, and historical study of San Francisco. They will study the city's historic and current demographics and ask, "whose voices do we need to hear to understand this place?" They will then head out into the city to conduct in-depth interviews with a diverse group of San Francisco stake holders. They will become journalists, artists, and historians. Ultimately, each will be responsible for telling a San Francisco story in a moth-style event which we will host at Daystar Academy in Beijing. This storytelling will be in Chinese. The Daystar community is excited to learn "a people's history of San Francisco" from a group of genuine San Franciscans.

Part 3: Dali Stories

Students now head from Beijing to 大理 (Dali) in far western China to stay at the beautiful Linden Center. Each student will spend a week paired with a local partner (farmers, silversmiths, tour guides, Kung Fu masters, coffee shop owners, students, etc) to learn the story of Dali from a unique perspective. At this point in the term, they will have had ample opportunity to sharpen their historical thinking skills; their interview skills; their story telling skills. Project One culminates with students applying these skills as they organize, promote, and perform in a final moth-style event in Old Dali. Students will share their observations of Dali and its people.