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Grade 7 students reflect on the power of image in the media and what it means to fit in

Anna Lubowitz, English Faculty, describes her objectives for King Grade 7 students as, "I want students to improve their ability to be critical readers and thinkers and to appreciate that everyone has a different experience of what it means to 'come of age in America,' which is our theme for Grade 7 English." 

Grade 7 students began the year with a mini unit, "The Power of the Image," focused on the power of image in the media. Students learned how to analyze images for the photographer/creator's message and purpose.  As part of discussing gender in the media, students identified examples of where they saw gendered media messaging and gender stereotypes in the real world.  

As a bridge between The Power of the Image unit and the novel Other Words for Home, Associate Teacher Mike Landino previewed some photographs that highlighted the Syrian refugee experience and asked students to analyze them using question words. Working with question words, such as who, what, where, when, why, and how, encourages students to critically examine the image for subject and setting. 

Other Words for Home is a verse text about a girl who flees Syria and comes to the U.S. with her mother in search of a new start. Students will be analyzing what it means to fit in, what "home" looks like, how different people might define "home" and feel connected to their home in different ways, and how setting affects character. Students have been working on writing strong claims, and will move toward how to find evidence to support those claims and then how to write context to introduce that evidence.

As she works with students, Mrs. Lubowitz reassures them that learning happens in a place of slight discomfort, since this helps students "begin to feel comfortable taking risks and sharing their ideas with others, even when their opinions might not be the most popular."

Learn more about King's skills-based approach to reading, writing, thinking, and speaking.