My students are immigrants and refugees. They come from many different places, and their prior experiences with education are similarly varied. Some grew up in refugee camps and attended school irregularly; others have strong educational backgrounds. All are learning English.
Sitting in a room with teenagers from all over the world is a beautiful thing.
Last year, one young man noted that in Iraq, he and his friend, a Kurd, wouldn't have been able to walk together in the street, yet here they were friends at school!
This year, in English 10, we'll be exploring the themes of nature, environmental degradation, and social justice. Wangari Maathai's memoir, UNBOWED, beautifully connects all three themes, along with a book that we read and loved last year, also set in Kenya. TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE provides a fitting complement to required readings of privileged white men voluntarily setting out for adventures in the wild (the book also explores a critical aspect of U.S. history).
While the focus this year will be on non-fiction, there's nothing like a popular, entertaining work of fiction to get students reading.
THE HUNGER GAMES--yes, that book--thematically links to issues of food, social justice, and our connection to the land. Back to the non-fiction: the UPFRONT magazines will provide students with more tangible materials to engage them with both current events and media.
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