For the past month, we have been working on exploring different ways in which individuals in our communities, in the world around us and in the texts we read have demonstrated courage.
During the first part of our unit, we discussed and wrote about a time in our lives in which we have had to show courage or someone near us has. Students spoke and wrote extensively about standing up against bullying, helping a friend or loved one in need, or having the confidence to speak up in school when struggling academically.
Next, we learned about instances of courage in the world, focusing on the Greensboro Four and the Lost Boys of Sudan. Not only did we read about these historical moments, but we also watched part of the The Butler (the sit-in scene), as well as God Forgot About Us, in order to better visualize what these moments actually consisted of.
Finally, we spent several weeks diving into the Holocaust to understand how individuals during this time period found ways to courageously undermine the lasting power of the Nazi Party. Higher level students read The Diary of Anne Frank over Spring Break and are in the process of completing independent projects to synthesize their thoughts and reflections. As a class, we worked with various informational text sources that covered Anne Frank's life and experiences. Considering the fact that many of my students had never previously heard of the Holocaust, many of them were absolutely fascinated (and downright enraged) to learn what had taken place less than a century ago. I have been extremely proud and amazed by the maturity and thoughtfulness they have demonstrated as they have processed difficult information and viewed disturbing images of genocide.
This week, students are writing five-paragraph essays on the ways in which Anne Frank's life and diary exemplified courage. I am excited to share those essays, as well as some of the higher level independent projects, with you all this week as they are submitted.
On another note, students take their Spring MAP Test Tuesday. We're all excited to see how much students have grown this year! Also, we will be starting our final unit on Poetry next week -- which is sure to be lot of fun!