My 10th grade students are some of the most diverse in the San Francisco Bay Area. They come from as far away as Iraq and Iran, and as close as the Craftsman homes and low-income housing down the street. They are Muslim and Christian, Jewish, and Sikh. They are America and I seek to provide more inclusive literature for them to experience in my English 2 class, which satisfies their 10th grade English requirement.
Because my students represent the spectrum of human experience, I seek to provide them - in turn - with literature that sparks their connection to writers who mirror that multiplicity.
In addition, many of my students struggle to connect with school-based reading and writing. Tenth grade is a crucial time to connect my students to what it means to be a writer and a thinker, as both identity formation and skill-building for college are key during this year.
I firmly believe that when students are introduced to literature that can connect to them on a deeper cultural level, they can begin to see themselves as agents of change and creators in their own right.
Students will not only analyze the novel 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith through a variety of literary lenses, they will also create and publish narratives that bring voice to their own life experiences. These narratives will be presented within a public forum (either in conjunction with our on-site radio station or with the support of community partners) that will allow students a chance to bring their stories to a broader audience.
By reading and analyzing the biting, powerful storytelling of Zadie Smith, students will begin to develop a critical voice in literary essays as well as within the creative non-fiction genre.
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