The following blog post was written for and first appeared on teachbetter.com blog on May 2, 2023.
The month of May is designated as Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During this month we honor “the generations of Jewish Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched American history and are instrumental in its success.”
The month of May in my eighth grade classroom is when we are studying WW2, the Holocaust, and Japanese Internment. In both English and social studies students are reading historical fiction, memoirs, and nonfiction texts of their choice about these topics. In history students are studying the dates and facts, reading primary sources, and understanding the ramifications of the war on a global level. The aim in this cross curricular unit is for students to develop an understanding of the roots and ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping in any society. Additionally, students develop an awareness of the value of pluralism and encourage acceptance of diversity in a pluralistic society. One key facet is to not just learn about the victims but also honor the Jewish and Asian American heroes who showed perseverance and were instrumental during this time.
Students learn about Japanese Internment as well as the 442nd regimental combat team, a segregated Japanese American unit who are the most decorated unit in US History for their bravery and heroism. Students read the graphic novel They Called Us Enemy by George Takei and gain a child’s perspective of Executive Order 9066 and living in an Internment Camp in Takei’s memoir. Some students select to read Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a Printz Honor Winner young adult historical fiction text that was based on the author’s grandparents stories of being incarcerated during WW2.
I have put together two different hyperdocs, a digital document such as a Google Doc where all components of a learning cycle have been pulled together into one central hub for students to learn more.. Within the hyperdocs students are provided with hyperlinks to all of the resources to work on at their own pace and learn about the diverse groups of soldiers who made up America’s military and a second hyperdoc that examines Japanese Internment and the ramifications for today. You can make a copy of these two hyperdocs when you click on the images below.
Similarly, in studying the Holocaust students read stories of survivors and even have the opportunity to Zoom with a survivor to hear her story. You can connect with a speaker through the Jewish Heritage Museum’s Speakers Bureau in New York City. Additionally, students look at art work and read poetry from the victims and survivors of the Holocaust to understand the horrors of this period in history. The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam offers a virtual tour online of the Secret Annex where Anne and her family hid for more than two years during WW2 where she wrote her diary.
Educational materials have been curated by The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration with primary sources about the Chinese Exclusion Act, Annexation of Hawaii, and Japanese Americans during WW2. The National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has links and resources for teaching about the generations of Jewish Americans who have contributed to American history, culture and society.
For our culminating project for WW2 students create their own multi genre text on a specific topic and theme about World War II. This summative assessment and multi genre project incorporates five different texts (fiction and nonfiction) grounded in specific historical documents to highlight a common theme prevalent in WWII. Allowing students to be researchers and writers enables students to use higher order thinking and comprehension skills while at the same time tap into 21st Century skills as digital citizens and creators. Students will utilize technology for research and writing to produce a blog that presents their understanding and learning of this inquiry unit on WWII and the Holocaust.
This May consider ways to share stories, expose stereotypes and myths about Jewish and Asian Americans and celebrate their rich culture and diversity.
Be sure to share in the comments ways that you are helping to celebrate Jewish Pacific Heritage Month in your classroom.
Students want to take an active role in their world. They want to be involved in real things and have their voices heard. Creative projects offer students a platform to engage with their world and make statements, have the opportunity to present to real audiences, draw reactions, and gain feedback from those audiences as well.
In my 8th grade English Language Arts classroom students read short stories and texts around the topic of identity. After reading a handful of short stories from authors like Sandra Cisneros, Toni Cade Bambara, Esmerelda Santiago, Gary Soto, and Amy Tan, to name a few. After our close reading, analysis, and reflections students do some exploration and research into their identity and diverse cultures. Students are provided with a choice board to select a culminating writing assignment that is compiled in an anthology with Book Creator.
When students know that they have the opportunity to make a statement that will be heard, it can bring a highly focusing, motivating, and potentially satisfying aspect to learning. Each of the activities on the choice board results in the student producing an authentic learning product curated in a class anthology. Choice boards embrace student voice, choice, and agency.
Student Authors with Book Creator
A key focus of our active learning and critical thinking classroom is that the student produces as part of the
learning experience. As students create their learning products, they are researching, communicating, writing, speaking and listening. To showcase our creative works students writing is compiled in a class anthology using Book Creator. Book Creator helps facilitate the sharing process and collaboration is easy when students add their writing to our class anthology. Students know their finished products will be shared with their families and the school community and this makes a meaningful learning experience.
This unit and activities are meant to celebrate students’ diverse cultures and heritage. When students share their photos, memoirs, and dishes they can begin to appreciate all the richness in all of our cultures and can find similarities among us. This helps to help create an classroom and school environment where students feel their voices and stories matter.
Writing is a crucial component of learning mathematics. As an adjunct professor teaching literacy courses to graduate students earning their teaching certificates, our classes examine ways to incorporate reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking across disciplines for student success. This blog post is part of a series and I am first going to focus on writing in mathematics classes. It is not only important for students to understand the concepts in math, but also to communicate their understanding to others. Writing in math class can help students develop their mathematical thinking, problem-solving skills, and communication skills. In this blog post, we will explore six specific examples of how writing can be used effectively in math class.
Math Journaling: Math journaling involves asking students to reflect on what they have learned in math class. This can include writing about the steps they took to solve a problem, the strategies they used, and the challenges they faced. By reflecting on their learning, students can identify areas where they need more practice and gain a deeper understanding of the concepts they are learning.
Problem-Solving: Writing can also be used as a tool for problem-solving. When students are presented with a math problem, they can write out their thought process, including any assumptions they are making, the strategies they are using, and the steps they are taking to arrive at a solution. This helps students to organize their thinking and identify any errors or misconceptions they may have.
Explanations: Writing can be used to explain mathematical concepts to others. Students can be asked to write about a particular concept or problem, explaining it in their own words. This not only helps them to solidify their own understanding, but also helps to develop their communication skills.
Reflection: Reflection is an important part of the learning process. Writing can be used to help students reflect on their own learning. For example, students can be asked to write about what they found challenging in a particular lesson, what they learned, and how they can apply that learning in other contexts.
Vocabulary: Mathematics has a unique vocabulary, and it can be challenging for students to learn and remember all of the terms. Writing can be used to reinforce the vocabulary by asking students to write about the meaning of particular terms or to use them in a sentence. This helps students to internalize the vocabulary and become more confident in their understanding of the concepts.
Research: Mathematics is a dynamic field, and there are always new discoveries and advancements being made. Writing can be used to encourage students to research a particular topic or concept, and to share their findings with the class. This not only helps to deepen their own understanding of the topic, but also exposes them to new ideas and perspectives. In fact, back when I was in middle school I was assigned to read and write a report about women in mathematics. In the Literacy in Content Areas course I share the first chapter from Ian Stewart’s Letters to A Young Mathematician where he writes how math is in everything in our lives. What if students had to uncover the mathematics behind coding or engineering. Their research can make visible how math is all around us. Students can present their research in a formal writing assignment or even a video.
Creative Writing: Mathematics can often be seen as a dry, technical subject. However, creative writing can be used to bring a sense of fun and creativity to math class. For example, students can be asked to write a short story or poem (try an ode to your favorite number) that involves mathematical concepts. This could include a story about a group of friends who use their knowledge of fractions to divide a pizza, or a poem that explores the beauty of geometry. By engaging in creative writing, students can approach math from a different angle and develop a deeper appreciation for the subject. Additionally, it allows students to express their creativity and individuality, making math class a more enjoyable and inclusive experience for all. There are great stories in include with the creative writing from reading aloud the picture book Numbers in Motion about Sophie Kowalevski’s journey as the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics, which required original research, holding a university chair in mathematics, and becoming the editor of a major scientific journal. Additionally, Kathryn Otoshi’s picture books Zero, One and Two all personify the numbers and tell memorable stories about feelings, friendships, and counting.
Writing is an essential tool for learning mathematics. It can help students to reflect on their learning, develop their problem-solving skills, and communicate their understanding to others. By incorporating writing into math class, educators can help students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts they are learning and prepare them for success in future mathematical endeavors.
It was a few years back when I came across an image on social media with quotes from Shakespeare and Hip Hop. Then I found one that was Batman or Shakespeare. Recently @mrsorman posted Green Day or Whitman? I love these quotes for a classroom activity. My students are kicking off a mystery unit and I have immersed them in video and print texts of iconic murder mysteries. I thought Agatha Christie or Wednesday Addams would be perfect to use as a hook for this unit.
Whether you make your own (I use @Canva’s carousel templates) or purchase another teachers, you can use these in many different ways to engage active learning and critical thinking skills. Here are five ways to incorporate Who Said It? in your classroom this week:
Gallery Walk – Post the quotes around the room and have students walk around viewing and recording their answers. This technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. Students can work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to the quotes or work independently and they provide evidence to support their answers.
Bulletin Board – Looking for a low stakes activity but visual eye candy for your classroom wall? Post all the quotes on a bulletin board and you might even post the answers underneath for students to check their guesses.
Station Rotation – This can be one of your stations or learning activities that students rotate through. Kick it up a notch as a hot potato game and use that plush hot potato. First, all members of this station sit in a circle. Then, squeeze the Hot Potato to start the music and pass the spud to the player next to you or even across from you. Toss the tater back and forth, up high, down low, around and around. When the music stops the person holding the potato takes a quote from the jar, reads it aloud and then provides an answer aloud. Play a few rounds to have other group members answer additional questions in the jar.
4. Online Game – Choose an on line game platform like Booklet, Kahoot, Quizlet Live, or Quizizz to test your students literary knowledge. This can be played as a hook or bell ringer to start class or use as a wrap up after discussing elements of mystery.
5. Silent Debate – To help students practice argumentative writing, students can select a quote or randomly choose a quote and then have to defend their answer by writing a short response with two pieces of evidence to support their claims.
If you would like a copy of this Who Said It deck, please email me. There are about twenty quotes in total.
Padlet is trustworthy and versatile virtual post board that can be shared with students either in class or as an extension to learning. The most common uses for Padlet include a discussion board, pose a question for warm ups and exit slips and all students respond. Here are four ways that I have been using Padlet in order to create more learning experiences that put students at the center sharing their knowledge and understanding.
Using Padlet as a curation tool helps students access materials in which to examine, respond, and reflect. I first came across this use of Padlet as a digital gallery for reading and writing when I was taking a writing workshop with Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. All the mentor texts of a memoir unit were posted on a Padlet and participants were allowed to choose the one that captured our attention. Teachers can allow students to choose which mentor texts to examine and study the craft moves and then write in the same style of the mentor text. Students can then talk in small groups what they noticed, learned, and even share their writing pieces for additional feedback.
Similarly, the teacher might use a Padlet for a scavenger hunt and post a topic or topics and have students curate images, text, and videos to support or illustrate the topic. When students are studying film shots, after a mini lesson on different film shots students were challenged with curating images to represent each of the shots.
Creating a digital gallery and then having students reading and respond to the text helps collect and collaborate on textual analysis. When students were studying propaganda in dystopian fiction and history I created Padlet of propaganda. Students read, viewed, and or listened to each Gallery item. Then, students chose a Critical Thinking Prompt to analyze and examine the texts presented in this Gallery. As always, student responses (comments) must include TEXTUAL EVIDENCE to explain the connections and analysis that you used to support your claims. There was even a bonus.
BONUS: Use the Google search engine to identify images, drawings, news articles, quotes, EVEN connections to Animal Farm that connect or draw parallel between one of the featured Gallery Items and your research. Click on the (+), to add your research/contribution to the Gallery Wall.
Lastly, if you are someone who conducts literature circles and or book clubs in your classroom, having students post their discussion highlights and insights on a Padlet helps to gather what students are reading and discussing in the book chats. Students can lead the discussions rather than a teacher posting the question and students responding. The key is that student voice and choice are at the forefront.
There are countless other ways for teachers and students to use Padlet for learning and showcasing understanding. If educators want student to use higher order thinking skills like evaluate, analyze, and synthesize, here are four ways you can promote higher order thinking using Padlet to elevate your lessons.
I am always excited to talk and share about hyperdocs, playlists, and choice boards. These differentiated and personalized learning opportunities for students are utilized with each unit I teach in 8th grade English. I am sharing my slide deck for #FETC23 in New Orleans for my Mega Share presentation on Monday, January 23rd. Participants will learn about hyperdocs, playlists, and choice boards and the capabilities these blended learning teaching strategies have to offer.
Hyperdocs and playlists are Google docs/slides/drawings filled with hyperlinks to a variety of structured learning opportunities. HyperDocs and playlists can be a useful tool for in personal learning, distance learning, and even blended learning opportunities for unit of study and multi-day lessons. Hyperdocs and playlists promote a self-paced structure that enable students to take charge and choose different activities that align with the learning objective of the Hyperdoc or playlist.
Teachers can enhance their teaching toolbox to support the diverse learners in the classroom with hyperdocs, playlists, and choice boards. I will also share digital platforms and apps to support the diverse learners to create meaningful classroom experiences that promote reading, critical thinking and digital literacy. So, it is up to educators to provide students with a plethora of tools and strategies so they have the opportunity to choose which will best help them reach their learning goals.
Below is a list of different playlists, choice boards, and hyperdocs I have created for my middle school student and share in the slide deck above. Feel free to make a copy of these and adapt for your own classroom use. Please be sure to credit those whose materials you are using, adapting, and borrowing.
One of my favorite New York Times series is Anatomy of a Scene, “A video series where directors comment on the craft of movie-making.”
Julie Hodgson of the The Learning Network at The New York Times writes “In these short clips, film directors narrate a scene from one of their movies, walking viewers through the decisions they made and the effects they intended them to have. These videos demonstrate to students how to step outside of their personal reader-to-text experiences and examine literature from a wider lens — to see a story, memoir, essay or poem from the perspective of its creator.”
As my students finish reading graphic novels and I thought it would be awesome to have students create their own scene analysis video break down for readers. I first introduced students to the film series and we watched about four in one period – each episode is no more than three minutes. Then, we used a window notes template to record things we learned about the scene, details the director shared, and how this illuminated our understanding about characterization and theme.
As a class we brainstormed the process of making our own Anatomy of a Scene:
Choose a key scene in the text.
Complete the graphic organizer to analyze and deconstruct the scene.
Use the script template to help write our the key ideas to be presented.
Curate the images and types of shots to help visually understand the literary analysis.
I have scaffolded the article for students to explore what their favorite books say about them as readers, writers, and individuals. My plan is for this assignment to be an un-graded pre-assessment of their reading and writing skills. I can use the data from their essays to map out writing lessons for the school year and learn about their reading habits. I made a same organizer for myself as a model for students.
Writing is a powerful thing. If we want to inspire students to write, we can use young adult fiction with protagonists who write to encourage and arouse the writers within all our students. I just finished reading Jeff Zentner’s In the Wild Light and found myself dog-earing so many pages with powerful passages and statements about a writer’s life.
“We think language as this tame thing that lives in neat garden beds, bound by rules and fences. Then someone shows it to you growing wild and beautiful, flowering vines consuming cities, erasing pavement and lines. Breaking though any fence that would try to contain it. Reclaiming. Reshaping. Reforming. In my life, I’ve never known anything else that felt so full of infinite possibility. Words make me feel strong. They make me feel powerful and alive. They make me feel like I can open doors. (Zentner (2021:264)
Here are 13 young adult books that offer teen protagonists who write:
Cash Pruitt is the protagonist in Jeff Zentner’s In The Wild Life by (2021). Cash loves his rural Tennessee hometown, his grandparents who raised him after his mother died of an overdose, and his best friend Delaney Doyle, a science genius whose boundless knowledge of the natural world fills him with wonder. Both children of an opioid-addicted parent, Delaney and Cash have a deep bond and when Delaney’s scientific discovery – a mold with powerful antibiotic properties – both are awarded scholarships at a prestigious boarding school in Connecticut. Cash worries his grandfather, who has emphysema, will die while he is away at school, but accepts the scholarship. At school he takes a poetry class that shows him the power of language to reshape experiences of pain and fear into beauty. As in Zentner’s earlier works, grief is a central theme explored in many forms.
In the YA novel Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink (2021) Angel and Isaiah are two young Black teenagers living in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the days leading up to the Tulsa Race Riot and massacre. The two come together for a summer job running a mobile library, delivering books to poorer black areas. Despite early contention and philosophical differences (Angel is a follower of the more conservative Booker T. Washington; Isaiah prefers the teachings of the more revolutionary WEB De Bois) the two fall in love as the world around them begins to catch fire. Isaiah writes poetry throughout the story and it is great to see a young man use poetry as a form of expression.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone(2018) using letter writing and journaling to understand Justyce McAllister, a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend. None of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Jaqueline Woodson is an amazing young adult author who has powerful stories to tell. In her book From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun (2010) addresses what it means to be a family. Melanin Sun has a lot to say. But sometimes it’s hard to speak his mind, so he fills up notebooks with his thoughts instead. He writes about his mom a lot–they’re about as close as they can be, because they have no other family. So when she suddenly tells him she’s gay, his world is turned upside down. And if that weren’t hard enough for him to accept, her girlfriend is white. Melanin Sun is angry and scared. How can his mom do this to him– is this the end of their closeness? What will his friends think? And can he let her girlfriend be part of their family?
The Diary of Anne Frank is a classic. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (2020) has won the National Book Award and the Printz Award. The book is told in poetry. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.
In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (2018), Cath is a Simon Snow fan. For Cath, being a fan is her life―and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words.
Ava Dellaira’s Love Letters to the Dead (2015) begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more–though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was–lovely and amazing and deeply flawed–can she begin to discover her own path
Newbery Medal Winner, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (2010) begins shortly after a fall-out with her best friend. Sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone. It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.
Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea in Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (2019). When a new boy at school tempts Eliza to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble. In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace transfers to her school and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.
In Riley Redgate’s Final Draft (2018) the only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced–by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed. At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval.
Natalie’s best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie’s written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie’s mother is an editor for a big children’s publisher, but Natalie doesn’t want to ask for any favors. The School Story by Andrew Clementsis 20 years old but a perfect read for 5th and 6th graders. Zoe’s brilliant idea is that Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. Can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?
What happens if your notebook ends up in the wrong hands? Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy (1964) is about Harriet M. Welsch, a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Despite being written decades ago, there are some key themes about friendship that are worth noting.
Students are reading books with themes of identity as our last unit this school year. Student outcomes include
Recognize how people and characters define themselves as individuals through multiple complex factors, including culture, family, peers, and environment, and that defining oneself is a complex process
Read texts of various lengths to analyze content and structure, and cite evidence
Respond to texts (orally and in writing) coherently and thoughtfully
Develop and support claims with textual information
Participate in small-group and whole-class discussions
Students selected from five (5) choice novels:
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson – Newbery Honor
Acclaimed author Renee Watson offers a powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it’s trying to break her. Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way, which Jade has. Every day she rides the bus away from her friends to the private school where she feels like an outsider. She’s tired of being singled out as someone who needs help or someone who people want to fix.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Nevin
Libby and Jack get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel.
Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – A National Book Award Winner.
A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. She has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy. (Some mature topics throughout the book.)
The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor – National Book Award Finalist
Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.
Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri – 2021 Michael Printz Award
An autobiographical novel, middle-schooler Daniel, formerly Khosrou, tells his unimpressed and at times cruel classmates about his experience as an Iranian refugee. Modeling his storytelling on Scheherazade and not beholden to a western mode, Daniel Nayeri writes a patchwork of memory and anecdote. He layers stories upon stories to create a complex, hilarious, and devastating understanding of memory, family, and perspective. This book is a complex read due to the interweaving of stories in past and present and suggested for advanced readers.
I created this identity playlist to help student meet learning targets and draw connections text to self, text to text, and text to world.
This is just a highlight of some of the slides. To get a copy of this playlist you can access HERE.