Research in the XIIIs

    > Research in the XIIIs

By Karen Brandt, Director of Middle and Upper School

The IXs weren’t the only Group with a successful launch this fall! The Room to Room Report, the newspaper published by the XIIIs, released its first issue on October 5. The XIIIs Newspaper provides an opportunity for XIIIs to report on what’s happening internally in school, while also starting to peer outward into the world they will soon enter. Like the IXs Store, the XIIIs Newspaper also provides the school community with a service, keeping us up to date with the goings-on inside C&C and offering a window into the perspectives of our oldest students.  

The entirety of the XIIIs year is rooted in investigation and journalism. Beginning in the antebellum period extending through to the present day, the XIIIs study 20th-century American history revisited. Throughout the year, they examine historical narratives and how the media presents events and movements, particularly those that deal with race and class. The XIIIs learn how to integrate their learning of the past into their journalistic inquiries of the present. 

As journalists, the XIIIs study not only written reporting, but also podcasting, documentaries, and photojournalism. Having taken their first stab at the Newspaper, they visited the International Center of Photograph (ICP) on the Lower East Side to study Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. The Trip afforded XIIIs many opportunities for study and reflection through the lens of journalists, artists, and scholars of history. “What do the photos say about the world at the time they were taken? What themes from the photos continue to permeate our world? How does our perspective inform our interpretation of time and place? What is the impact of capturing a single moment in time?” These are some of the questions that the XIIIs teachers asked students to reflect on. XIIIs wrestled with these queries together and independently, gradually began to create debatable claims based on a Pulitzer Prize winning photo of their choice. 

(Photo taken in the XIIIs classroom while the Group grappled with the idea of ‘what is a claim’)

The photojournalism essays that the XIIIs wrote about these Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, for many students, became the writing sample that they submitted as part of their high school applications. Teachers and families know they can submit XIIIs fall writing samples to other schools with pride, not simply because of the quality of their work, but also because of the deep processes of inquiry and analysis that was embedded at every step in their process.