“You have to understand, no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land”

Families Belong Together

Eleven years ago I taught ESL in Gwinnett county, Georgia. I did not only belong to best team of ESL teachers, but I also taught wonderful students, and was supported by hard-working, caring families. My students were immigrants.

I was an immigrant. I still am.

My students and their parents, carried on their shoulders a heavier burden than mine though. I could write a book with all tales told by my students during our readers and writers workshop time together. Tales of cold nights spent at the desert. Tales of uncertainty. Tales of escaping danger. Tales of parents working four jobs. Tales of  sharing a bed with five siblings. Tales of nostalgia for warm abuela’s cuddles. Tales of hope and resilience.

My heart has felt tight since I first heard about the separation of families at the border. I kept on picturing my back then kindergarteners in those scared faces I saw in the news. I thought to myself, what can I do besides donating money and weaving this theme into my curriculum as I have done before? (see below  – pictures of  the immigration project we did in 4th grade inspired by the Arpillera Women’s Movement in Chile)

Amidst this pondering, a good friend of mine, Carolina Gomez, a fellow educator, and source of inspiration, asked if I wanted to collaborate in the creation of resources  related to the topic. Resources that not only teachers, but homeschool guardians and parents can use with their kids.

Literature  has the power  to convey different aspects of the human experience,  it can help us see life from a different perspective. It offers vivid images that makes us feel we are part of the story.  There are studies that have proved that the empathy we feel for characters, wires our brains to have the same sensitivity towards real people.

Therefore, reading can help banish  the fear rooted in the human soul caused by the lack of familiarity and understanding of others. The type of fear that feeds stereotypes, racism, and hate.

Keeping all that in mind, I created a simple graphic poem.

I am an elementary Spanish teacher, so the resources I create, need to be developmentally appropriate for that age and also comprehensible for non native speakers.

This poem, though in both versions ( English and Spanish), can be used  with children of different ages.

I also created  Spanish and English worksheets  for the kids to write about or illustrate each stanza.  You will find all the attachments below this post.

Feel free to share, download and spread the word by reposting and tagging friends.

Do not forget tag me if you end up using it with your children.

Also visit Carolina’s blog  to download the story of Lilian.

For love & justice.

Françoise Xx

The title for this post was borrowed from the  wonderful poem Home  by Warsan Shire

Poema en Español e Inglés-2

Reading Comprehension Handout-2

guía de comprensión lectora-2

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