Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Human Rights Day 2013

20 years
http://at20.ohchr.org/

Did you know that today is the United Nation's Human Rights day 2013? I didn't. I know about human rights. I know what it is when you don't have them, and what it means to have them. I teach students who come from countries with no rights, some rights, and a few of them even come from countries where human rights are honored. This past week, I was again reminded about the importance of human rights by Nelson Mandela.
In my Sheltered English class, we have been studying real-life writing purposes; what they are, where we can find them, and how do we know what the writer's purpose is. So this idea came to my mind: could I devote a few days to human rights in the middle of this unit? What would the lesson look like? Would it include writing? What about reading? What would be the end product? 

Good cup of coffee, comfortable chair, Internet, laptop on my lap, and I was on my way to planning this week. Very soon it became apparent that the inclusion of videos would greatly enhance my lessons. As I watched YouTube clips, listened to music and read declarations, I became even more convinced that this is really something that I need to study with my students.

This week, we are delving into the rights that all human beings should have. We are interviewing family and friends, teachers, other students and staff about what human rights mean to them. We will complete mini research on human rights issues that we will then share in class. We will make posters to hang in our classroom and in the hallways to remind everyone about the rights that we all have or should have. And through all this, we will look at the real-life writing and reporting that is happening even today in countries where citizens are still fighting for their basic human rights.

Will you help us by sharing what human rights means to you?



I wish that I had learned earlier about all the resources that are available for educators, but here is one great resource in case you would like to check it out.

13 comments:

  1. Oh, I LOVE this idea!!! I'm left with so many questions...what videos? What are you having them research? What's the reaction been? How can I do this? When can I fit it in? I love that you took the time to plan & include it this week. It's so important to teach students about things like human rights.

    To me, human rights means freedom. Freedom to read the books you want. Freedom to write the words you want. Freedom to be the person you are meant to be without anyone saying, "No you can't."

    Please post more about this. I'd love to hear how it's going and see their work!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I will keep you posted.

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  2. What a wonderful share. This is a powerful topic this week due to thinking about Mandela, but also EVERY week as we guide our students into thinking about how they have the freedom (and responsibility) to do and be what they want.

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    1. The timing has definitely given my students more to think about.

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  3. It's nvever too late to start. right? Especially when kids are involved. I'd love to hear how this goes, Jaana, and thanks for the resources.

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    1. Maybe some pictures coming later on....

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  4. Jaana, thank you for sharing how you are getting your students to think about human rights, and for the links to resources.
    Human rights? The right to clean water? For children to be protected? The right to have an original thought. The right to speak?
    A good question. I will think more on this.
    And, if I ever met you, I wouldn't recognize you unless you looked like a green tree like your avatar.:)

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    1. Okay, Pamela, I am getting the idea that I should have my face as my avatar (not just a tree representing my true nature).

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  5. Thanks Jaana. I'm watching an interesting piece right now connected to Nelson Mandela and a small village in South Africa, the continuing poverty even though 'things' are better. I suspect you will find much in the coming weeks because of his passing. Thanks also for the link!

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    1. The timing just brought everything together!

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  6. Ooh, what a cool mini-unit for your students! I'd love to hear a lot more about your activities and resources, as well as what the students think. I hope you write more posts about this! :-)

    (P.S. I can't think of any specific tips for Spanish-speakers -- I probably look at them a little differently since I can communicate with them easily... but maybe you can send me a message after you meet your student. I'd be happy to suggest some resources or give you some advice once you know a little more about him/her!)

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    1. Hopefully everything will go as planned this week. More posts to come, and maybe even some pictures. I have a few ideas still stewing in my head. I will definitely message you when I know more about my new student!

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  7. The question you ask about human rights is not one (me) can answer in a quick note. You leave me thinking. I have a feeling that I have said the same thing about your other posts. You bring up good questions.
    I hope that through this unit the students will learn about the world and also grow as persons.

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