We are having lit circles in my two 10th grade Inclusion classes. I’ve got four books going in each class: Freedom Writers Diary, Fallen Angels, Ellen Foster, and The Bean Trees (The Chocolate War, too, in one of the classes). The themes of diversity, tolerance, abuse, and perseverance are prevalent in each book.
I’m hoping my students don’t get bogged down with the problems of the protagonists so much that they miss the ways the characters grow, making their lives better. I hope that during this unit I remind them to notice how the people in the books don’t stay stuck — They aren’t Myrtle, Tom, or Daisy in The Great Gatsby. These characters take their problems by the horns and don’t let go — each of them are determined to make a better life for themselves.
That’s what I want for the kids I teach, too. They need to see that they don’t have to let the world define them — they can make their own way. Hopefully that is the message I can get out to them.
I was going somewhere else with this post today…but I lost it when I started watching my students read. It’s a beautiful sight: