You Lookin’ For Me?

Author: Glenza Lowman


Blankenburg Elementary

Year: 2015

Seminar: Aliens and Others: African Americans [Re]Writing Generic Fiction

Grade Level: 3-6

Keywords: Black history, Black History month, writing

School Subject(s): English, Writing

As a Lower Writing Teacher I have the luxury of exploring genres that are not atypical to my District’s curriculum. Given the skeletal planning and scheduling timelines I have found robust activities that broaden my students’ concepts of writing. From using T.V. shows and websites to rehearse fundamental skills, to exploring Similes and Metaphors in poetry, I still find the genres limited. There are not enough school-based literature that reflects the lives and interest of people of color. In addition, it is daunting to teach the same facts about Black History without my heart aching for characters, conditions, attitudes and achievements that also minimized. It is for this reason that I would like to develop a curriculum that uses genres of literature, that are not always made available to my student, in order to further their imaginations, as well as, gifting them with literary text that they would not have had prior knowledge of. This luxury, paired with the journal output of my students, moved me to asking how could I create authentic student writing that helps students to personally connect with the genre, while allowing them to propose resolutions to some social conflict? Furthermore, could the District benefit from such a curriculum and create resources and opportunities to help raise the student voices in our charges? How could I motivate my students to talk about how they feel then give voice to it in genres, which don’t necessarily welcome our perspective? Hence, a curriculum dedicated to “writing outside of the box” would certainly raise the consciousness of students and how they value themselves and the ways they are portrayed. Secondly, by exploring human conditions, students will gain empathy for others and create outcomes, via writing, that explores the eradication of social ills through literary plans of action. Finally, students will gain an appreciation of the art form.

Primarily, the objective of this 3rd grade to 6th grade curriculum, taught during Black History Month, is to expose students to genres they are not usually acquainted with. Genres that invite Superheroes of color, women superheroes, detective protagonist of color, and maybe Science Fictions stories that celebrate achievements of people of color. The four week curriculum would also engage them in the analysis of the structures of these genres and how to imitate the craft at their levels, and last but not least, to extend learning so that students become more critical of the media messages that are put in front of them and explore healthy debates about persuasion, propaganda, cause and effect and other expository opportunities that arise as a result of a holistic genre study.

Download Unit: Lowman-Glenza-unit-1.pdf

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