Students Read "This Is the Rope"
Early childhood teacher Ashley Chu read This Is the Rope by Jacqueline Woodson in her pre-K - Kindergarten after school book club in D.C. for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. The focus of the book club is to read books written by people of color that tell the stories of characters of color. Chu describes the lesson:
We are currently reading stories related to the theme of immigration/migration, so we connected it to the book we read last week, Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. Through that connection, we discussed the reasons people might move and how they may feel when they go somewhere new. Some students have moved in the past and shared their experience, while others talked about going somewhere new on a trip.
When I introduced the book, I related it to one of the 13 Principles of Black Lives Matter, "intergenerational." I explained it meant the story would talk about a grandma, mom, and child, and they will all grow and change through the story, so the story happens over many years. While reading the book, we highlighted how the characters were changing and how the rope is used in different ways. Then, students thought of other ways they might use a rope with their families. Students got a small piece of yarn and drew a picture incorporating the yarn, which they glued to their picture.
Students enjoyed the book. It has a calm, serene tone that influenced the students' energy. They were surprised when the characters grew and changed very quickly. They made a lot of personal connections with the book. For example, on the page with the family portraits, many students said that they also had family photos up in their homes, and they shared who was in their photos. On the page with the family reunion, students shared family gatherings they have and things they did (eating cake, playing games, hitting a piñata) at their family events.
Our appreciation to Penguin Random House for their donation of This is the Rope and other books for teachers in the D.C. area for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.
Ashley Chu is a member of the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice (DCAESJ) Anti-bias Education Working Group. She developed the idea for this lesson at a working group meeting in collaboration with early childhood teachers Morgan Powell and Annie Mozer.