"Oh wow! You're so brave for teaching 7th graders!" is something I have heard more times than I can count. When first telling people that I am a 7th grade English teacher their eyes go wide, and they deliver the line many middle school (and high school) teachers hear on a regular basis. What people do not know is that some days my 7th grade students teach me more than I teach them. Working at such a diverse school with such diverse students has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined possible and has challenged me to be a better teacher.
My students are passionate and accepting people who value learning about different perspectives.
In my classroom, I strive to instill a passion for learning in my students through reading and the power of words. Throughout the year, I try to introduce my students to a variety of different stories so that they can see that there is a story out there for everyone. This sometimes means reading things that make us uncomfortable and deal with our emotions and past, which is a challenge my students have willingly accepted, and I have seen them grow tremendously from.
My students love books that are based on true stories that they can relate to and find meaning in. Anytime I read a book or short story that my students love, they always ask if it is a real story because they can relate to the characters so well. Middle school is a hard time for students, therefore, I love providing them with characters and events they can relate to or find inspiration from.
"Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein" by Jennifer Roy is based on a true story about a young boy living in Basra Iraq during the war in Iraq.
To many of us, the war in Iraq was not very long ago and is an important and devastating time in history. However, students today have little to no idea about what the Iraq war was and why it happened. We teach about the Holocaust and the devastating effects of that moment in history, yet we often do not educate students about a war that is closer to their time and that was devastating to other cultures.
I plan to use "Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein" to teach students about the war in Iraq and to answer the question: what can we learn from our past? We will also discuss the idea of fear and feeling unsafe because of our beliefs and culture. We will compare this book to Art Spiegelman's graphic novel "Maus" and discuss how one's culture can be used against them.
DonorsChoose is the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Ms. Groves and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.
Browse bundles of books that prominently feature Black, Arab, Asian, Indigenous, Latinx, and Pacific Islander characters, and the LGBTQ+ community. With each ColorPop book bundle purchased, $5 is donated to our Book Donation Fund, which brings identity-affirming books directly into public school classrooms.