i had originally titled a lesson plan with my unit as "the struggle for voice." a bit of a play, as ishmael beah's struggle is about escaping the war, joining the military as a boy soldier, and eventually coming to grips with his emotional scarring and past after having been "rescued" of sorts by UNICEF (i will never know what that acronym stands for...until i look it up). the voice part is that, according to my mentor teacher, J, his ultimate purpose in life is tell his story, and that's why he wrote that book. it's the one way he can come to grips with his past and get some reconcilliation.
there is a scene in the book where he applies and gets accepted to this UN conference of many different children from countries bound by terrible conflict. the children share their stories, cry, and comfort each other with all this. then ishmael goes back to freetown, the capital of sierra leone. the war suddenly comes into the city; he must escape again, and he does, and though the story ends before he goes back to NYC, we know that's where he ends up. points of it all, is, so he escaped, but how does he deal with his past? storytelling, aka finding his voice.
thus, "the struggle for voice." i hadn't thought much of it til now, nor what i wanted to do with it. i always had this wonderful idea of bringing in some speakers to help me out with finding voice, but it was more of a pipedream than anything else. now, i think it might work with some planning, which i'm getting a bit better at doing.
here are my ideas for the unit:
- name is "the struggle for voice." filter the book through two themes: struggle and voice. introduce the idea of theme as opposed to main idea (something they'll be struggling with a bit, but i think we'll figure it out) (mass standard/power standard 11.3)
- link the previous unit on empowerment to struggle and voice.
- since we're doing the talent show fundraiser, have all the kids work on their reading fluency and performance (mass standard/power standard 3.8)
- bring students each day to the auditorium to hold class...it'll be a nice break from the classroom environment, plus a fantastic way to use space in order to read passages.
- work consistently on reading fluency (3.8), performance of passages in the book, and enforcing the idea that good readers focus on the whole text, not just the words. the question is, though, how? any ideas?