Learning for all, whatever it takes—that’s the motto here at our middle school. Our school is located in North Carolina, in the town of Tarboro. Tarboro is located in a mostly rural setting although most students live in town. All of our students here receive free and reduced-price lunch and the makeup of our students consists of around 80% African American, 10% Hispanic and 10% Caucasian. Each teacher works with grit, resilience and faith that our students will grow every year. For the past two years, I’ve been inspired by the work and dedication of both teachers and students in this building. This year, I am teaching our school’s first Honors Eighth Grade English and Social Studies Class.
I choose Hidden Roots as the last novel for the 2018-2019 school year because it tells a story that very few children and adults know about. While this novel takes place in the 1950s, it also uncovers the effects of the Vermont Eugenics Survey which occurred in the early twentieth century. At that time, many people, including Abenaki Indians, encountered compulsory sterilization.
This novel retells an extremely hidden portion of America's past while presenting a character and story that many of my students can connect with.
As I teach this novel to my students, I will also be learning with them a part of our past that has been hidden. I'm excited to witness what the students will learn in terms of literacy skills, historical thinking and developing empathy and compassion while encountering a very different narrative.
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