Building Empathy And Understanding Through Literature
My students need 16 copies of "Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began" to complete the journey they began with Artie and Vladeck in Maus I!
My small but fiery Freshman English Class and I began reading Maus I together in December. It is a graphic novel, an epic tale of one family's trials during the Holocaust, and it so engrossed us that we vowed to procure Maus II and finish the tale of the Spiegelmans before the end of the year ...
My kids, my students, my Freshman ... they're incredible.
Intelligent and charming, raucous and unpredictable, this class has charmed me, and they have changed my life in more ways than they (or I) know. We attend a "High Poverty" school, but we are rich in diversity, spirit, and work ethic; my students defy all stereotypes, and they surprise even themselves when they forget whose watching and push themselves to their limits.
Our school has a college and career focus, but that doesn't mean we don't make time for literature; indeed, reading great works of literature is one of the most imporant ways we prepare for college and life in general. Throughout the year, we've read and studied from every genre imaginable, from science fiction (Harrison Bergeron, I-Robot, The Pedestrian) to Southern Gothic Coming of Age (To Kill A Mockingbird), but my students and I have been most inspired by our study of Maus I; indeed, I am asked on a daily basis: when are we going to get Maus II?
Currently, my students and I are learning age old lessons like empathy and perseverance with Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch; however, somewhat independent of our primary focus of To Kill a Mockingbird, an ongoing part of our classroom is Independent Reading during which students select their own materials and texts to read quietly for approximately 15-20 minutes each day ...
Of course, in a unanimous decision, my students have decided that we should apply for a Donorschoose project in order to get Maus II to read during our Independent Reading time, and I could not be happier that they are expressing themselves and taking charge of their learning in such a positive and unified way.
Quickly and steadily, the end of the year is approaching, and my students and I are determined to take ownership of our education and learn more about the Holocaust, Artie and Vladeck, and understanding human behavior through literature.
This story has changed my students for the better, and I hope more than anything we can finish this story together before the end of the school year.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.