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MTYT: La Frontera: El Viaje con Papá – My journey with Papa

By Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University.

Since the beginning of time, humans have been traveling to new countries and desiring a better life. Refugees are fleeing their countries because of war, hunger, violence, unemployment, and more.
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MTYT: The Gift of Changing Woman

In the last installment of October’s MTYT, Deborah Dimmett and Angie Hoffman talk about the picturebook The Gift of Changing Woman, which is written by Tryntje Van Ness Seymour. October’s theme is the cycle of life of young native women. This book provides the reader with culturally accurate depiction of a young Apache girl experiencing the coming of age ceremony where she learns about the Changing Woman.

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Teaching about the Refugee Experience

By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District

In this month’s WOW Currents, Yoo Kyung Sung and Junko Sakoi talked about their project, “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” and how it is helping to educate local Tucson children about the refugee experiences of kids just like them. This week we will focus on the positive developments that came from the students’ pen pal experience. We will also discuss what teachers can do through classroom instruction to cultivate awareness of the diversity of people and cultures in the community.

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MTYT: Kinaaldá A Navajo Girl Grows Up

In the third installment of October’s MTYT, Deborah Dimmett and Angie Hoffman talk about the picturebook Kinaaldá: A Navajo Girl Grows Up, which is written and illustrated by Monty Roessel. October’s theme is the cycle of life of young native women. This book provides the reader with an inside perspective of a young Navajo girl going through the Kinaaldá, the ceremony that signifies she has become a woman.

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Creating Student Connections Using Text Sets

By Sakoi Junko, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

This week, we will continue the discussion about text sets, which were created by the “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” project to help educate local Tucson children about refugee students’ homelands and the diversity within those groups of people. Once the first text set was displayed for book browsing in the classroom, the 5th graders were able to “relocate” their old home into the various stories within the books. We observed the excitement in the students’ voices as they shared stories of their homeland with their peers. It became obvious at that point that even the 5th graders did not know each other’s backgrounds. Because they are often generalized as “refugee students”, the students’ individual identities are often forgotten. With the exception of customs, the refugee and immigrant students are no different from any of the American students beginning the new year in a new classroom every August. It was particularly advantageous to put aside the term, “refugee” and allow the children to learn about each other from a fresh perspective.

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MTYT: For a Girl Becoming

In the second installment of October’s MTYT, Deborah Dimmett and Angie Hoffman continue to share a sampling of children’s books written by Native American authors who bring to the young reader a deeper understanding about Native American traditions and perspectives. In particular, the theme this month provides a view into the cycle of life of young native women. In For a Girl Becoming, the reader follows the journey of a young girl through all the stages of her life as she comes into adulthood with the love and support of her family.

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Creating Mixed Genre Text Sets

By Sakoi Junko, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

Children’s literature may be one the best mediums for promoting new learning in the classroom. Text sets are especially helpful in that they offer a collective of literary landscapes full of unfamiliar places and various perspectives. This week, we introduce a text set that we put together to support the new Tucsonan (immigrant and refugee) children’s cultural affirmation while they develop the Tucsonan side of their identity. The text sets we create for “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” projects are to inform local Tucson children about refugee students’ homelands and the diversity within those groups of people. When the the topic of refugees is framed in this way, students will realize that the term “refugees” does not always mean war-zone survivors. Students learn that it can also include those surviving climate change. For example, the Marshall Islands are drowning due to climate changes and many of Marshallese had to relocated to places like Tucson.

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MTYT: My Nana Hannah

MTYT October HeadingIn the first installment of October’s MTYT, Deborah Dimmett and Angie Hoffman are excited for the opportunity to share a sampling of children’s books written by Native American authors who bring to the young reader a deeper understanding about Native American traditions and perspectives. In particular, the theme this month provides a view into the cycle of life of young native women. We will discuss four books this month: My Nana Hannah, For a Girl Becoming, The Gift of Changing Woman and Kinaalda: A Navajo Girl Grows Up.

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Refugee Waves and New Voices

By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District

In the last decade, Arizona consistently ranks among the top ten states with the number of refugee arrivals (Refugee Processing Center, 2018) with more than 15,400 refugees resettled in Arizona from 2012 through 2016. Accordingly, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) received refugees since the late 1970s from the Southeast Asian countries, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Somalia and Sudan. Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi refugees have been the largest groups to arrive in Tucson in 2018 (Arizona Refugee Resettlement Program, 2018), in addition to fifty other countries with thirty-eight different languages. In the past five years, TUSD yearly enrollment has averaged around 900 refugee students across K-12 schools (Tucson Unified School District, 2018).

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