My students are hard-working critical thinkers who advocate for the best learning experiences possible for all students. They are active in our school community and believe in the power of their own voices to make change! Just this past school year, students spoke at school committee meetings about the conditions of their school, how it has impacted their learning and what they would like to see improved in order for the school to be a better place!
My fourth-graders come from various cultural backgrounds and communities.
Their cultural backgrounds contribute to the rich diversity of the school, its customs and traditions. Students are empowered to learn about different cultures and people, by engaging in meaningful and productive dialogue with their classmates.
Representation matters! It matters in entertainment and politics and especially in literature. As an educator, I must ensure that my students see themselves reflected when they look around our classroom. I am adamant about searching for books that serve as mirrors for my students! At the beginning of the school year, it is especially important to me that my students identify, recognize, and celebrate their cultural backgrounds and multiple identities.
We start by discussing who we are, where we come from, and why that matters to our educational experiences.
I have selected chapter books that depict Black, LatinX, and Asian characters with multiple talents, perspectives, and experiences that contest typical ideas that are normally presented in popular culture. Throughout the school year, I want students to read these books and see themselves as multi-faceted people whose stories are worth telling.
I hope that this wide array of chapter books increases student engagement, a celebration of cultural identity and produces positive self-images. These books will also lead to open dialogue about who we are as a classroom community and the interconnectedness of our collective human experiences.
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