We have a diverse school district comprised of more than fifty percent of our students receiving free or reduced price lunch. In an effort to decrease our achievement gap and increase student access to a variety of modern and classical texts, we implement several cross-curricular projects throughout the school year. We use flexible grouping strategies to approach grade level content from a variety of angles.
Many of the texts we have access to daily, are written at a level significantly above the current abilities of our at-risk and special education students.
I work with students of varying abilities, primarily with special education students. It's very difficult as kids get into higher grades, to find texts that are high interest and accessible at their achievement level. My students want to continue to improve academically and need access to materials that can help them achieve academic success.
The Devil's Arithmetic is a book that allows students to experience the Holocaust through the eyes of a person their own age. The text is written at a level that is accessible to eighth graders who read at a level below their peers, yet is interesting enough to keep kids of all ability levels engaged.
We will be using the texts as a book club to facilitate discussions about the Holocaust and inquire further into the time period.
We will also be tying the lessons into ongoing studies of empathy. At the conclusion of the novel, mini-clubs will be conducting extension projects, researching events, experiences or places that they want to explore further from the novel.
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