When it comes to teaching about hunger, there are many ways to go about it. In my classroom, my students will be learning about the difficulties of hunger through different literature genres (and film) in the theme basket that I have created for this unit. My students will be examining their hometown and their school’s demographics.
To start this unit off, I will be conducting an activity that has my students standing in a line. Depending on their answer to the questions that I will be asking, students will be taking either a step forward or a step backward. This will show my students how hunger is relevant even within the walls of our classroom.
Looking at hunger with critical inquiry is crucial to students fully understanding the affect that hunger has on individuals and families. Students need to be aware of how their community is functioning and what they can do to help those who need it. My goal is to not only help my students become aware of hunger, but show them ways that they can get involved.
Students will be required to complete an assignment per each text/film in order to showcase their understanding of the text/film and of hunger as a topic. The theme basket that we will be utilizing to dig deep into hunger is as followed:
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – book talk
- All I want for Christmas by Christopher K. Bayliss – reflection
- Ending Hunger Now by Josette Sheeran (TED Talk) – mini presentation
- Hunger: An Unnatrual History by Sharman Apt Russell – notes
- A Place at the Table (documentary) – research other hunger documentaries
In addition, students will be looking into their hometown and the demographics of their school. We will conduct a whole class research in order to determine the following statistics of our town:
- Location: Holland, Michigan
- Average Income: $44,619
- People Below Poverty Line: 18.5%
- High School Name: Holland High School
- School Diversity: 58% minority
- 44% Hispanic
- 42% White
- 7% Black
- 3% Asian
- 2% Two or More Races
- Free and Reduced Lunch Rate: 49%
- At-Risk Students: 50%
- Average Graduation Rate: 57%
Those statistics will allow students to see how their hometown is holding up compared to the literature that we examined focusing on hunger. We will pull from the texts/films and from what we learned when researching our town. This will lead the discussion into asking the question “How can we help?” For the next part of the unit, students will be split into groups and required to research local businesses that can be resources for people who are in need.
A list of potential businesses that students will find during their research:
- Kids’ Food Basket
- Community Action House
- Ottawa County Food Policy Council
- Salvation Army
- Love in Action
By the end of this unit, students will be equipped with knowledge about hunger overall and how it can affect not only individuals but families as well. In addition, students will have a further insight into their own hometown and have a list of resources that they can either get involved in or direct those in need to. This unit is important because it is not only utilizing literature/film, but it brings the students awareness outside of the classroom walls and helps them become a person that is involved with their community.