Fifth Graders at Daniel Boone Make Global Connections

Posted on 10/24/2018
Fifth Graders at Daniel Boone Make Global Connections

It can be challenging for young students to think about a life that is different from their own. Refugees’ stories of loss, whether family, home, or possessions, are a difficult but important concept for elementary students. Daniel Boone Elementary shared these ideas with their students and helped them see the world through someone else’s eyes when they challenged them to think like a refugee.

“Fifth grade classrooms are reading Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate,” said Library Media Specialist Meredith Bates. “The story is about a young boy from Africa who becomes a refugee in America after his father and brother die in an attack and his mother goes missing.” Two guest speakers with first-hand experience were able to help students understand the hardships that the main character goes through when leaving his country and adjusting to a new life.

A student smiles while working on their found object project.Denis Nasufovic and Admir Muhic are two of the millions of immigrants displaced from Bosnia; many ended up in the St. Louis area. They shared stories of the hardships that they faced, the uncertainty of traveling to a new country with a language barrier, and about creating a brand new life. Nasufovic and Muhic are both employees of FHSD.

“In my role as custodial manager, I’d often visit with (Principal) Mr. Armour at Daniel Boone, where we would touch base on different topics,” said Nasufovic. “One that seemed most appealing to Mr. Armour was my life journey from Bosnia to the United States. I never thought he would invite me to share my story in front of his students.” When the presentation was over, students had a variety of questions.

“We are constantly seeking opportunities to help our students make global connections, so bringing in actual refugees that reside in our community to speak about their experiences seemed like a natural way to for students to connect their classroom assignment with a world that is very real to them,” said Bates.

Students were then challenged to create toys or games using only found objects. Rocks, sticks, recycled plastic containers, and socks were all fair game. Tape, glue, and paper were not. One group created a toss and catch game with two-gallon plastic jugs and a handmade ball. “In our game, we have a bunch of rocks in the middle and there are boundaries. You grab a rock, run back, and try to get as far as you can,” said Mia S.

“I hope our students are able to look at the environments and experiences that are presented in the book and through our speakers and see the stark differences between their own lives and those of others,” said Bates. I hope they will leave with an appreciation and awareness for some of the liberties that are given to us.”

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