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Celebrating Our Small World through Understanding and Global Connections

by Nancy Rebore

Our tenth graders, here in the high school, are taking the Uniondale School District theme of “making connections,” to heart! Engaging in an interdisciplinary project, “Global Connections, Teen To Teen: Imprints On Our Souls,” our students are discovering that it really is a small world.

In the tenth grade, students take Global Studies, in which they learn about civil wars, genocides, and human rights abuses around the world. They memorize facts and figures, causes and results, and the impact of geography and culture on these conflicts. This information is necessary to inform minds, and, of course, to do well on tests. As a way of adding another dimension to this information, we, in the library have created wikis for students to interact on the wiki online discussion boards. One wiki in this Teen To Teen project addresses the Rwandan Genocide by asking four Key Questions. One question: “What was the outside world’s reaction to the genocide? Each post includes research - based and thoughtfully considered responses.

However, our mission in the high school is not only to educate the minds of our students, but to develop true understanding that reaches to their hearts as well. To this end, our English teachers in the tenth grade Smaller Learning Communities are engaging their students in reading memoirs and historical fiction, mostly written by young adults who, like themselves, have similar hopes and dreams, but who, through different circumstances, have endured challenging experiences in war-torn countries. In a library introduction to the Teen To Teen project, students watch a PowerPoint presentation and listen to a few passages selected from books in a special collection of about a hundred titles of memoirs and historical fiction written by and about young adults. English teachers have created lesson plans for their classes, that include journaling as they read, and then, choosing from many creative and exciting projects such as podcasts, newsletters, monologues, plays, and video conferencing.

The high school Art Department is also participating. Art teachers are asking their students to design book covers and to create paintings that reflect and are inspired by their thoughts and interpretations of selected passages from the books in our special collection.

We look forward to sharing our students’ projects with you on April 15, 2008, when our library hosts “Remember the Children Day.” - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more