January 20, 2016

My Experiences In Teaching Current Social Issues: Refugees

On November 15, I had planned to begin a week teaching my students about refugees. We are an Expeditionary Learning School, and we were using our Social Studies learning about culture and civil rights as a jump off into a partnership with the Global Village School in our neighborhood. A school for girls. Refugee girls.

The lessons were written, the resources were made (I had to create everything since 2nd grade resources on refugees are slim at best). The read alouds were ready to go.


And then, on November 13, Paris happened. And I was nervous. Teaching about refugees? Right now? Really? I had already been nervous about the subject. My Facebook feed had been blowing up with dissenting opinions on the United States' acceptance of refugees for months. And then tragedy struck our world again. And "refugee" became a bad word. As if it wasn't before.

But I forged ahead. And thank goodness! We had a wonderful experience learning about how civil rights issues are still issues for many, many people in our world. My students learned about people who could be so much like them, but have such a different life experience. We took action together to inform others about these issues, and then raise money to help our new friends from the Global Village school with a culminating Walk A Thon. It was all amazing!

An infographic created by a group of 3 Second Graders.

Reflections from Day 1 and Day 10 of our study.

Students collaborating on the creation of an infographic using PPt.

Students reflecting on their interviews with Refugee Girls.

Our map showing the paths of the refugees we met and read about.
Our Walk A Thon to raise funds for the school.

And the parents and community were so accepting. And I was grateful for that. And I learned that I can keep teaching about the hard issues. I can keep teaching compassion. I can keep teaching these precious lives I am entrusted with to be compassionate and brave and to make change.

A flyer we created as a class to pass out during our Walk A Thon to raise money for the school.

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