Humanities at New Voices is an integrated approach to teaching ELA and social studies.   Students are supported to develop the skills required to be life-long critical thinkers and learners.   Teachers use a range of teaching strategies to engage all students and support the needs of diverse learners.

Essential questions in each unit of study provide a focus for students’ engagement in meaningful discussions and activities.  Students closely read novels and shorts texts from a range of genres and multiple perspectives.  They are guided through the writing process when responding to their reading by producing a variety of writing pieces: argument, informative, and literary essays.  Students develop the life skill of analyzing information to make informed decisions. They participate in Socratic Seminars that help them understand the relevance of the unit’s big idea to current events and their own lives.

Essential Questions

6th Grade: Identity

  • Who am I?
  • What does it take to stand up for what is right?
  • How does adversity shape a person’s identity?
  • How does where we live affect how we live?
  • How do values shape a society?
  • Can there be a balance between the safety of the community with the rights and freedoms of the individual?

7th Grade: Freedom

  • What does it mean to be free?
  • Can meaningful change happen without risk?
  • Are risks necessary to find and assert a person’s identity?
  • Should the 1st amendment protect hate speech?
  • How does a nation overcome the wrongs of the past?

8th Grade: Justice

  • Are hopes and dreams important in life?
  • Does the U.S. have a historical obligation to provide shelter to immigrants in need?
  • How are our identities shaped and reshaped by circumstances we encounter?
  • In the face of adversity, what causes some individuals to prevail while others fail?
  • Is there a method most effective to overcome injustice?


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