The Arabic Quilt
This is a fantastic book to introduce intent vs impact. So often, in our efforts to address conflict we focus on intent so that the other person understands why we didn't mean it the way they think. When in reality, often the person only needs a sincere apology and to know that we understand how what we did was harmful. It's about centering their experience and not centering our own.
Social Justice Activities:
Create activities that allow students to share information and keep note of what students share like a formative assessment. As you think about your culturally relevant practices, ask yourself, how can I center students' families in my instruction like the teacher in The Arabic Quilt does?
Build Classroom Community. This feels generic to say because every teacher thinks they already do this. But in my experience, doing this work well requires us to give up significant "academic" minutes. But when we do this well, we're actually not giving up time because strong classroom communities will use their academic time more efficiently.
Center your students' languages in your instruction. What languages do family members of your students' speak. With students, create a word cloud with many different words that describe your learning community (collaborative, joyful, focused, etc.) and translate some of the words in the family languages. Display it in your classroom.
Character Analysis: Analyze the way Molly apologizes for laughing at Kanzi's mom's language? Why does Kanzi respond in the way she does? What does this teach us about intent vs. impact.
Theme: Evaluate the solution the teacher and Kanzi's mother apply. Rather than give the kids a talk about how they should appreciate diversity, Mrs. Haugen centers Egyptian culture and the Arabic language in her classroom instruction. What is the theme that the author is expressing?
- Fiction, All Ages
- Perspectives: Egyptian-American, Arabic speakers
- Author's stated heritage: Egyptian-American
- Subject Integration: Art, Geography, Language