"Could you see if you can find this book for me?" I'll never forget the day that one of my students, who swore the first day I met her that she hated reading and would never enjoy it, started making book requests when she heard I was going to a used book store. Or another student, who I told a friend, "Read this. It will take your on a journey you can't possibly imagine!"
This is why I do what I do.
I want to show my students that learning isn't just something you do at school. It's something that gives you the key to a door that opens to a whole new world ready for you to explore. Students enter worlds they never knew existed and understand concepts they never dreamed to imagine.
My students are a group of wild, independent, and vastly different people that, without realizing it, end up teaching me more than I could ever teach them.
I recently read the Young Reader's Edition of Malala's story to see if it would be an appropriate novel for my fifth graders and if so, what lessons I could pull from it. To say I finished it amazed and inspired would be an understatement.
The lessons my students can learn from Malala and her story are limitless and immense.
Malala's life story serves as an example of perseverance, grit, determination, gratitude, forgiveness, and grace; characteristics all my fifth graders could benefit from learning more about. Lessons in good character are just as important as lessons in content. However, Malala's story includes information that will help my students connect to our fifth grade social studies standards as well.
Part of our fifth grade social studies curriculum includes teaching students about our post 9/11 world. Teaching about the country they live in, United States, is relatable for them, but how 9/11 affected people all over the world? That's where Malala picks up. Her first hand account of life in Pakistan under Taliban rule is shocking, humbling, and moving.
This novel will help to teach students about the post 9/11 world but also inspire them to become this world's future leaders in change!
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