7th Grade Makes The Most of Second Chances: Monster Unit
My students need a class set of the novel "Monster" and a teacher copy of "Harlem"; by Walter Dean Myers to read as a class.
Do you remember what it was like the first time you read a book that you couldn't put down? My students have not yet discovered books that are relevant and meaningful, but they have also not met Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old on trial for murder in Harlem.
We are the class of 2017!
This is my third year teaching 7th grade English Language Arts at a Title 1 school in Texas and I am lucky enough to have some of the best students in the world. At least 90% of my students are Hispanic and are still transitioning between English and Spanish. Learning English is something that at times can be challenging for them, but they are always ready to learn. My classes are eager to learn anything I throw at them and love to read novels they can relate to.
My students' past education has been heavily focused on state assessment reading passages and rarely have they been exposed to novels. This year I want to expose them to Monster, a novel in which many will be able to relate, and create writing portfolios. With this book, my reluctant readers will be able to increase their literacy skills while focusing on the question, is everyone considered innocent until proven guilty?
Having a teacher copy of Harlem will help students build prior knowledge through a read aloud before reading Monster. These books will allow my students to gain a wider appreciation for novels and learn the importance of making the most of second chances.
Monster is the story of a 16-year-old boy, Steve, who is on trial for a drug store robbery. Although Steve wasn't guilty, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is something that all my students can relate to. For many of them, they have seen first hand what it means to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in their own community. With a large gang population in the community, many of these times have been results from gang or peer pressure outside of school.
Reading these books will forever change my students because these story will provoke meaningful discussions and passionate writing. Students will be able to reflect and share their own point-of-view on discrimination.
Today, reading and writing have taken a back seat in many of students lives.
It has become something that most of them are only exposed to in school. Reading Harlem to my students will give them the necessary background knowledge that will increase their comprehension of Monster. Having a class set of the novel Monster and a teacher copy of Harlem will provide my classes with endless opportunities to grow academically and as individuals.
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