My students are amazing! Many of them come from lower-income households, single-parent led, and in most cases second-language learners trying to master English as well as content. All of this they have overcome with hard work and perseverance. The history students are eager to learn our country's history and be participating members of our society. My AVID students are desperately trying to learn the skills that will get them into college.
The neighborhood our school is a part of is not one on the list for tourists coming to San Diego.
As a matter of fact, there are San Diegans who would never dream of coming into this part of the city. It is often forgotten unless a murder, gang shooting, or home invasion occurs to bring it to "breaking news" status on T.V.
I teach two classes of 8th-grade GATE/Advanced students and three classes of AVID. The kids are bright and engaging. All of them are eager for a good education and have dreams of college and a better life. These students and their families are full of hope. Hope for a better life for not just themselves but a better life for our whole society.
As a part of my U.S. History classes and with each unit that I teach, I try to find a compelling book that will both engage the students and enhance the content. From Blood on the River, the story of a boy traveling to Jamestown in 1607 to A Soldier's Heart, the story of a young soldier fighting in the American Civil War, my students gain insight from a perspective that may not always make the history textbook. My unit on the American Revolution was lacking one particular perspective, that of the slaves hoping for freedom and not knowing which side would provide it. The book I have chosen for this unit is Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Chains is the story of a young slave girl living in New York during the fight over who would lay claim to the city and which side, British or American, would give her the freedom she so fervently wished for.
Not only do my students learn the historical content but cannot help but open their hearts to the plight of this young girl, at the same age as most of them. Please help me bring this story to not only my current students but for many of my future students. Help them see history through the eyes of all who helped make our country what it is today and what it can be tomorrow.
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