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Cultivating Citizenship

Teachers and Students are Citizens.

In the buildup to this fishbowl discussion, students spent time learning and gathering notes on the function of religion in our everyday lives. We spent time working through videos on social institutions, religions, and how they shape our lives. We talked together about how the different ways we experience life shape who we are, and that can mean many different things depending on the group. Especially in a classroom as culturally diverse as mine, having students understand that the way they grew up informs their view of the world gives them the power to consciously choose, grow, and challenge themselves. It is a reminder that we are all alive together in their world, and we all have a different experiences as to what that means. 

At the beginning of the year, my students and I took the time to craft our own classroom constitution where we laid out the norms and expectations for the year, both for myself and for my students. I had students post on the Jamboard what their expectations of me were as their teacher, and then what they expected of themselves and their peers as students. We took those suggestions and crafted a constitution that we could all agree on, displaying it above my desk so that we were always reminded of our agreement. If I or other students broke the agreement, we also agreed that we would have to complete a reflection of what happened, why, and what we were going to do moving forward. While I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the actual poster before I moved classrooms at the beginning of the semester, I included in this artifact the Jamboards, a typed document of our constitution, and the reflection.  

While discussing World War II in U.S. history, the curriculum centers on the United State's perspective of the war. Because of this, the global impacts of the war are either left out of the lessons or misunderstood by students. While I did not have the time during the unit to dedicate a day to a more global perspective of the war, I did create an additional extra credit assignment for students to complete that focused on just that. Students that were not happy with their grades had the opportunity to earn a few more points, and it also allowed students that are curious about the topic to explore more information. This example is from one student that is particularly interested in history, showing how he goes above and beyond in interrogating the war from a global perspective. Cultivating citizenship means cultivating global citizenship, and understanding how the world outside of the United States was impacted by the war helps inform that connection. 

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