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Using Literature to Recognize Authenticity


As an English teacher, there are few things better than watching students read a piece of literature and become inspired about real world issues. In the 8th grade, we started this unusual year by reading Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah. In their essays, students reported that they found his voice funny and entertaining, but even more importantly, they found it authentic. Authenticity is something that middle schoolers can sniff out from miles away. You can’t fake it until you make it with them, they will see right through you. Noah earned their respect, and from that respect a genuine interest in researching other human rights issues from around the world and throughout history.

Their digital exhibit project has turned into a Libguide accessible to other students and WSA community members. The content you will find ranges from original poems and artwork to historical articles and ways to get involved. Subjects include but are not limited to modern-day slavery, civil rights, mass incarceration, freedom of speech, and women and gender rights.

This year, WSA’s theme is belonging. This project allowed students to investigate and pursue topics of personal interest under the umbrella of human rights and make their voices heard. We are a community that strives to take care of each other, create a safe space for everyone to grow, open their minds, and deepen their sense of empathy. In doing so, we create a stronger community, and world.

Please visit: Human Rights: 8th Grade Digital Exhibit Project
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