PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 3/13/2017 YOLO, Old Sport!


Dear Families,

The concept of YOLO is attributed to the late actress, Mae West, who claimed “you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” This idea seemed to exemplify the 1920s, sandwiched as it was between WW1 and The Great Depression, and hallmarked by its excess. Changing social values were at the heart of shaping the era, not to mention legislation: women gained the right to vote and alcohol was prohibited. The stock market gained its foothold and so did organized crime. Through The Great Gatsby, we are afforded a window in at the majesty and the mayhem.

Another point of view we used were the illustrations of John Held Jr. The drawings, including many Life Magazine covers, often depicted women in new roles, new rules for relationships, and risk-taking . . .






We also enjoyed a satirical piece in The New Yorker entitled “Kellyanne Conway Spins Great Works of Literature” and wrote our own fake news (I mean, offered Alternate Facts) for The Great Gatsby . . .



Although we are only about halfway through the novel, we have begun thinking about our culminating project: a five-paragraph essay about the symbols used by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. The symbols chosen must connect together in the essay to illustrate an overarching theme of the novel. The essay’s thesis will be supported by evidence from the The Great Gatsbyone or more additional sources, and have appropriate MLA citations.

Between the practice Algebra Regents, PTCs, and high school matches, it was a crazy week! So, to conclude, we kicked back and watched the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby. Besides just enjoying the film, we looked for recognizable symbols from the book and discussed how the film used them.




Ms. Sacilotto


“No–Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men.”  — from The Great Gatsby