Each and every day I teach amazing, talented, hard-working, imaginative, creative, strong, hilarious, bright young people. Next week we are finishing up our First Unit, which we titled "Self-Identity." Through this Unit I learned a lot about my students as individuals. I learned about their struggles, their challenges, their realities, their life when they leave the school each and every day, their families, and their passions. I learned about kids that do not know their parents, kids that have seen their siblings murdered in front of them, kids that have one pair of shoes, kids that are homeless, kids that have seen their family members die at the hands of police, kids that have gone hungry, kids that have nothing, kids that work 8-hour shifts after leaving school everyday, kids that live in motels, and kids that face challenges that you could not even imagine.
However, the most valuable thing that I learned about these kids, is that when you are worried about where your next meal is coming from, or when you are going to see your parents again, or about your dead brother, it is hard to read about things that happened hundreds of years ago in England or even in America, it hard to read about things that are not real to you.My kids need to be reading things that are real to them, things that they live through each and every day, things that they can relate to, things that they want to know more about, things that they are interested in and are relevant to their daily lives, and things that help them not only in school, but more importantly in life.
For Unit 2 the Georgia State Standards require that 9th Grade Literature courses begin to integrate "Informational Texts" in order to prepare students to write an "Informational Essay." Throughout this unit we have to integrate informational texts with a narrative text and I, with the help of my students and colleges, have decided that my students will study informational texts on the History of Police Brutality in America paired with Angie Thomas's New York Times Best Seller, The Hate U Give. The Hate U Give is about a 16-year-old girl, Starr, who “witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer.” I am hoping to teach this book in conjunction with informational texts about the History of Police Brutality in America - looking at this topic from all angles and using Media Outlets such as CNN, Washington Post, and Fox News. We are planning on covering a broad scope of stories ranging from the Laquan McDonald Murder Trail which just reached its verdict this week to Colin Kaepernick’s protesting of the National Anthem, and to hearing from members of the Fulton County Police Department.
While I am very excited about this Unit and the impact it will have on my kids, it is NOT possible without BOOKS. We need a class set of The Hate U Give, which means at LEAST 35 copies. Thanks to First Book, a nonprofit book vendor, I have received a discounted rate on the book that would allow me to purchase 35 books for only $220. I would LOVE your help with raising this money, and I know my students would be especially grateful. While I would be ecstatic to raise this $220 for 35 books, the more money that I raise the more books I could by. With more books I would have the flexibility of letting students "check books out," to read them over the weekend, and even to buy secondary texts - the more books the better.
100% of donations will go towards my classroom and my students, whether through books, supplies, or snacks.
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