Creating Human Connections

12 Apr 2018
ByKatrinka Hardy, 7th Grade History TeacherDebra Sands, 7th Grade History Teacher

This year's 7th Grade Human Geography class just completed its unit on movement as personified by the Global Refugee Crisis. This unit was driven by several essential questions, including: "What happens when you personalize an event?" and "What obligations do countries have to refugees and to their own citizens?"

In order to build their own personal connections to the largest displacement of people since World War II, students chose the story of a refugee from such countries as Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Myanmar. Some students chose to interview and tell the story of immediate family members who have been refugees themselves. Building on geographic skills learned earlier in the year, the students created annotated maps to help visually illustrate the journeys refugees are forced to take as they flee their homelands.

Other assignments in the unit include: watching the Oscar-nominated short documentary 4.1 Miles, about a Greek coast guard's efforts to rescue refugees crossing from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos; the reading of Alan Gratz' book Refugee, and, to complete the unit, persuasive speeches based on the three refugee timelines highlighted in the book in Ms. Hrdy's classes and a multi-day Model UN-style simulation about what our duties are, as citizens of a nation and the globe, to provide aid to refugees in Ms. Sands' classes.

Ms. Sabogal photographed each of the 7th grade students' with a quote connected to the Global Refugee Crisis that personally moved them. You may also notice that many of these quotes include a QR CODE. Feel free to scan these codes with your smartphone to be taken to student created websites that will provide you with additional information about real people who have experienced the refugee crisis on a personal level.