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Refugee by Alan Gratz, a young adult historical fiction novel written by Alan Gratz, follows the stories of three different refugees from three different time periods. Through these characters, readers gain an understanding of what it means to leave home and build a new life somewhere else. This book provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to explore themes such as identity, family bonds, endangered cultures, and immigration in their classrooms. Let’s discuss how you can use “Refugee” to teach complex topics in your classroom.
Introducing Refugee by Alan Gratz to Your Students
The best way to begin teaching “Refugee” is by introducing the text to your students. Give them a brief overview of the main characters—Josef, Isabelle and Mahmoud—and let them know that each character comes from a different time period but has similar experiences when it comes to leaving home and escaping danger. You can also provide other supplemental materials that will help give context and background information about the characters’ lives before they become refugees.
Exploring Identity with Refugee by Alan Gratz
Throughout the novel, Josef, Isabelle and Mahmoud are all forced to grapple with who they are as individuals as well as their identity within their families and communities. These questions can be explored in depth through reading activities that focus on passages from “Refugee” that deal with identity questions or through creative writing assignments where students imagine themselves in one of the characters’ shoes. Additionally, if you want your students to explore these issues further you can pair “Refugee” with other texts examining similar ideas like The House on Mango Street or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Examining Immigration Issues
Immigration is a hot topic right now, so it makes sense to examine this issue through literature like “Refugee.” With this book, you can have your students explore topics related to immigration including asylum-seeking procedures, visa requirements and refugee resettlement programs. You can also have your students analyze news articles related to immigration or watch documentaries about people who have experienced immigration firsthand. Ultimately, no matter which approach you take when discussing immigration issues with your class while using “Refugee,” make sure that they are aware of current events related to immigration policy so that they have an understanding of how it relates directly back to the stories told in this novel.
Integrate Content Into Other Subjects
Refugee is a great way to bring together different subjects into one cohesive lesson plan. In order to do this, teachers can research historical events related to the characters’ stories and integrate them into classroom lessons. For example, if you’re teaching math, you could talk about the GDP of countries that had refugee crises during World War II (when Josef’s story takes place). If you’re teaching science, you could discuss the effects of climate change on global migration patterns (which directly affects Isabel’s story). Integrating content from other subjects makes learning more interesting and engaging for students.
Refugee is filled with tough topics that can open up conversations between students and teachers alike. Start off by asking students what they think about the stories of each character—what was their experience like? How did it compare with their own life? This will lead to deeper conversations about resilience, displacement, discrimination, and more. Encourage your students to share their own experiences with these topics or ask them for potential solutions for refugee crises around the world today.
Engage With Different Learning Styles
Refugee offers many opportunities for visual learners who prefer images over words. Ask your students to draw out scenes from each character’s journey or have them create posters of key points from each chapter that they discussed in class. You could also assign projects such as roleplaying scenarios where a group of students are given roles in a refugee camp (such as camp manager or food distributor) and then have them work together to solve problems they encounter within the camp environment. This kind of hands-on activity engages visual learners while reinforcing important conversations about displacement and identity that arose during class discussions.
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Create a Safe Space
Before diving into a discussion of Refugee, it’s important to create a safe space for students where they feel comfortable expressing their own thoughts and feelings on the subject matter of the book. We want our students to feel heard and respected while discussing these difficult topics, so we must emphasize that everyone’s opinion is valid and no one will be judged or criticized for what they say. If needed, provide some structure or guidelines ahead of time on how you would like your class to engage with each other during conversations.
Encourage Students to Explore Different Perspectives
One of the most important elements of teaching Refugee is helping students understand the different perspectives presented in the novel. Ask them questions about why certain characters make certain decisions or why others might disagree with them, encouraging them to think about how people from diverse backgrounds might view similar situations differently. The goal here is not necessarily to have your students arrive at any specific conclusion but rather just get them thinking more deeply about different points of view.
Address Controversial Topics Thoughtfully
The themes explored in Refugee are complex and often controversial, so it’s important for teachers to approach these topics thoughtfully. Encourage your students to consider both sides of any argument without pushing any particular point of view on them; instead, allow them to come up with their own conclusions based on evidence presented in the text or their own personal experiences. Additionally, provide resources such as books, articles, or videos that can supplement what’s covered in Refugee if necessary, so that your students have access to additional information if they need it.
Teaching Refugee by Alan Gratz is an excellent way for teachers to explore complex topics such as identity formation within new environments, family bonds formed during times of hardship, endangered cultures due to displacement and immigration policies all over the world today. By providing background knowledge about refugee experiences throughout history and connecting those experiences directly back to current events happening around us today we can create meaningful conversations within our classrooms about how we can take action towards creating positive change for immigrants everywhere! With thoughtful discussion activities combined with creative writing tasks or further research opportunities into current refugee issues–teachers will be able provide their students with an engaging framework for learning more about these important topics! #EducatorsUnite #ForAllWhoSeekAsylum #BeTheChangeYouWishToSeeInTheWorld #WeAreOneHumanFamily #NoBordersNoBarriersNoFear #EducationNotDeportation #OpenHeartsOpenMindsOpenDoors #LetLoveLeadTheWayToABetterWorldForAll!