This text set is developed for a three to five-week teaching period on a group of students from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. The text set is developed on the premise that students need to read from a wide range of content areas in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. Actually, it is important for students from all grade levels to read a wide range of texts and content areas. According to Opitz (1998), text sets are used during supervised reading instruction and involve grouping students together to help them become readers and understand the learning material. The process of developing this text set has involved identifying a suitable multicultural or social justice theme i.e. embracing individual differences in the classroom or learning environment. Once the theme was identified, a wide range of texts was selected to appeal to these students with different interests and ability levels.
Overview of the Target Students
The text set was developed to target middle school students i.e. those in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. These students are aged between 10 and 14 years and have varying levels of maturity and comprehension of educational material and content. This development stage and schooling period is usually characterized by significant growth and change. The varying literacy levels of these students are brought by the differences in personal characteristics of early adolescence that they are experiencing and the involvement of their parents in their education/learning process. In this classroom, most of these students are interested in nearly everything and show an incredible desire to learn. These students tend to ask questions about everything because of they are interested in a wide range of things and issues. However, some of them, especially sixth graders tend to appear and act like children. As a result, they consider the teacher an unquestionable leader and the center of knowledge. Generally, these students enter their middle school years as children and leave as young adolescences because of development of their cognitive ability, maturity levels, and literacy levels.
The targeted middle school students come from different social settings, families, and communities. They come from multicultural communities and societies that are characterized by people from different religions, nationalities, ethnicities, religion, and races. One of the social factors that are evident in these students' lives is the multicultural environment where they are brought up in and learn. Similar to their communities, these students are in a learning environment with people from different races, religions, and ethnicities. Consequently, they have different lifestyles because of the influence of social and cultural factors in their upbringing. Additionally, these students come from different family backgrounds that include single parent families and families with both parents. Some of these students are from families where parents have separated or divorced while others are orphans or have lost one of their parents or have both parents.
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As previously mentioned, it is important for students to read from a wide range of content areas in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. This is particularly important for middle school students because they are in a developmental stage where they are seemingly interested in and curious about everything. The identification of texts from a variety of content areas will help these students to explore different issues relating to their areas of interests or curiosity. However, it is vital to ensure the variety of content areas is based on a specific theme that is identified based on the students' academic levels and developmental stage.
Reason for Choosing this Topic
For this text set for a 3-5-week learning period, the text set will be on the theme of embracing individual differences across various settings including at home and in school. According to Frederick County Public Schools (n.d.), the modern generation of middle school students will live and work in a society that is becoming increasingly interdependent and global. Consequently, these students will need to learn and become culturally competent in addition to being skilled problem solvers and creative thinkers. Given this trend, school programs should be designed to help middle school students develop and enhance their cultural competence in order to prepare them for life and work in an increasingly multicultural environment. This also helps towards enhancing educational equality and empowerment by giving students from different social-class groups, races, ethnicities, and languages a suitable school culture and social structure (Banks, 2002).
As a result, the topic of embracing individual differences was selected to help in enhancing the cultural competencies of these middle school students. Additionally, this topic was selected to help these students develop skills for creating relationships based on mutual respect for each other. This is an important factor in their developmental stage because these students are currently learning in a classroom comprising of students from different backgrounds and cultures. Therefore, learning to embrace individual differences is crucial to help in embracing diversity and the development of meaningful and suitable relationships in the classroom environment.
List of Books for the Theme Unit
To effectively address this theme unit in the classroom, different texts have been identified based on their relevance to the topic and their link to the achievement of the overall objective of this class. Actually, the issue of children's literature has developed to become a major issue for reading instruction because of its centrality as essential learning material (Martinez & Mcgee, 2000). During the selection of this culturally rich literature for this classroom, several factors were considered including authenticity of the text….....