The school which I am employed is located in an urban environment. The students in my classroom generally speak in their native Spanish language. I am not Spanish speaking, but I recognize many similarities to my cultural language. On occasions I respond to them, in English, they realize I understood them. These occasions actually bring us closer because I do not seem so different from them. I believe the feeling of connecting, trusting, and establishing an equal platform assist in cultivating a more positive learning environment.Their home life structure also varies as groups of people live together in the same home but are not necessarily related. Families struggle with absent parents, non-siblings living together, grandparent only households, incarceration of a parent, gang affiliations, and abusive behaviors. The school district is below poverty level and is subsidized accordingly. All of the students, language barriers or not, bring something special to our room.
Literature brings our differences together by exposing the reader to a different perspective, life experience, and an escape into a story.
By having these books for the students they will gain the appreciation and value of a story and grow in their knowledge and ability to read.
The Outsiders is a book selected for my students because the school climate initiative is looking to incorporate aspects of friendship and interpersonal skill building into our daily classroom activities. When selecting a novel, The Outsiders is the best choice because the story discusses friendship and the obstacles the characters face are conquered because of their strong friends. In addition, we have tension in our school due to social and economic differences. The aspects of groups being seen as the same, even though they fight through their differences, is an important lesson we will be focusing on. The notebooks will be used to develop the students’ writing skills and language development growth.
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