My students are unlike any other. But struggle like many others. Everyday I come to work I am greeted by 60 eager faces. Though many of my students face struggles at home, a growing issue for my students is homelessness. With over 75% of my students receiving free and reduced lunch, they face greater challenges than ever before. Many of my students in the past, and inevitably in the future will be homeless. Every year, more and more of my students are homeless and have unstable living arrangements. Some are living on couches of friends, shelters and even in their families vehicles.
Why should children have to worry?
My 11 and 12 year-olds are beginning their first year of middle school, and at an age of such transformation they undergo too much stress. My students are risk takers, driven, caring individuals. They deserve a worry free life. My students deserve the opportunity to read and discuss books that encompass homelessness in a large scale so they can make connects and build on their own perseverance.
Our 6th grade Math and Global Studies teachers collaborated this past year to teach an International Baccalaureate unit on the global need for affordable housing for refugees because they experience homelessness for extended periods of time. We had such great success and student engagement that we are teaching this unit again! Last year, my previous students had the opportunity to have Refugee read aloud to them. This coming year my students will read Refugee in small groups, whole groups or independently. In the book Refugee, our students will learn about World War 2 during Hitler's reign, Cuba during the Castro reign and finally present day Aleppo, Syria . These books will allow students to understand a refugee's journey during different eras in history.
By having an expanded library of books that detail a refugee's journey from different eras, my 6th graders will have increased awareness, empathy, and desire to tackle the need for housing.
The books requested are about eras that my students may or may not have heard of prior to reading. We will be able to not only gain a deep understanding of why refugees seek safety in other countries but will find connections between the stories and their paths. Some of my students will make connections to their own family's history. I know that my students will engage in deep, meaningful conversations around each book. They will fulfill in a missing piece from our Global Studies library currently. Thank you for considering our project!
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