This year, my classes will also learn about historical content through novel studies. We will analyze several novels that relate to what they are studying in the classroom. Even students who do not read books in their free time should learn to think critically through literature about the world around them!
Our school is in a very rural part of Western Alabama, and our students come from our community and surrounding areas.
Most of our students live in rural agricultural areas with a low socioeconomic status. Even though we are a PreK - 12th grade school, I teach 7th, 9th, and 11th grade history.
Ideally, everyone reads. This, however, is not the reality. While I am teaching my students to analyze history and historical documents, I want them to extend this skill outside the realm of their textbooks. This year, I will be teaching The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The novel will be an excellent companion as it provides another perspective on the lives of immigrants in the United States and the exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century
These historical novels will continue to enhance the print-rich classroom that I strive to create. In our classroom, we have primary and secondary documents that we use in addition to our textbooks. Using novels like The Jungle, in the our classroom will will make a difference in our students' learning by giving them another avenue of information. Reading novels will expand their learning and understanding of historical context, unlike the way their textbooks do. As we read and discuss the novels, students will improve their reading skills and their analytical skills. I hope these novels will help even the "nonreaders" find their way to get into history.
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