Teaching in a low-income area with busy parents, my students enter middle school with high expectations. They desire care and concern from adults, whether it be in passing conversations or curriculum and lesson planning.
My students are full of life and wonder, they have personality for days.
They look forward to being challenged and get bored with complacency. Most are hands-on learners who benefit from getting up and moving around the classroom and benefit from intense differentiation.
With around 700 students in my middle school, there are many different styles of learning and interests to accommodate. Sometimes, it's not enough to give them materials because WE think they're good enough. We have to be able to supply them with the best of what they're interested in, to the best of our abilities.
Our students need characters that are believable and relatable. What better way to expose them to strong literature than to look to the experts that have awarded books high honors. Rudine Simms Bishop's essay written almost thirty years ago references books as mirrors and windows that would allow all children to see themselves and the experiences of others in what they read.
With this selection of books, the students at my school would benefit immensely by seeing characters like themselves reflected in these stories.
They can look to them as hope, as leaders, as examples of what they can overcome.
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