I teach 7h grade World Geography and the power of pictures are used a lot in my class. They are an amazing way to open my student’s eyes to the world they live in.
When I opened up my email and saw this week’s topic I knew immediately what I wanted to put in my blog. Last year I attended the NCCE in Seattle and attended a session about an amazing organization/website called the Global Oneness Project. On their site I found a lesson using a beautiful photo essay. I put together a Document Based Inquiry and then used the photo essay as their Assessment. Students were asked to pick one of the photos from the essay and write a narrative.
The best way for you to see the power of pictures is to read my student’s work. I want to share first that I am not trying to make a political statement with this post. I am truly proud of my student’s work and feel it is evidence of the power of pictures. This narrative was written in March 2016.
Where are we? Who are all these people? What are we doing? My small brain tries to sort out everything going on around me. We have traveled forever to get where we are now. My mom hasn’t been talking to me very much. She usually is always keeping me updated on everyone around us. Now, she is very quiet and seems very fearful or shy. We are waiting in line for something. It seems as if there is another train in front of us. I really don’t want to have to ride another train! I’m not alone as a kid, a young boy who wouldn’t stop screaming ten minutes ago is now asleep on his mom’s shoulder. And another little girl about my size waits in front of me. I just want to go to sleep.
I heard the man waiting behind me explain to his wife “We are currently near the border of Serbian, the load is taking so long because they are separating families with children from single men.”
Another train. I planned on taking a nap as soon as possible if I can find a comfortable spot. I was super tired and my super cozy and big coat will for sure keep me warm. We are finally making progress in the line! My mom will hasn’t said much. I have sort of the ear of worry in the back of head since she is so quiet. We move about ten steps forward, and stop again. It felt like years since we had stepped foot in this line.
After about two hours we finally made our way onto the wagon. I had a hard time stepping on the ginormous steps up. As I hopped up the final step my little pink shoe flew off. I screamed and hopped off the stairs as grabbed it nearly knocking over a young boy’s little way back from me. “Sorry..” I mumbled hurrying up the stairs red faced.
“Anii, you can’t just hop away from me like that. I have ahold of your hand for a reason. Who know how many people are on this train, I can’t lose you.” my mom scowled at me.
“But mom, my shoe fell. I wouldn’t be able to go on without it.” I paused, waiting for my mom to answer. “I’m sorry” and I left it at that.
My mom and I got very fortunate. We got to sit together on a bench up against a wall of the train. I snuggled tight between my mom and the wall. I just remember my mom grabbing tightly as a drifted to sleep.
Refugees are people who became endangered in their homes. They have to pack as much as they can carry and leave their almost entire life behind. The lucky ones get to stay together with their family. Often they don’t know anything about where they are heading, just that hopefully it will provide them safety. Young Anii is riding it’s her mother, split from her two brothers and father. On their journey to safety they have to overcome great challenges among the way, as most refugee travelers do. Refugees are greatly brave people, who have the ability to stay strong in the hardest times.
7th Grade Student