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I am Syria

Happy New Year!

School starts again today.

And this month also marks the beginning of Syrian refugees coming to Vermont.

A weekly newsletter I get in my inbox posted a link to a page from the website “I AM SYRIA.” It’s a group that seeks to provide non-partisan information about the war in Syria, and it brings together a massive amount of resources. They’ve been on this since 2015.

The page the newsletter linked to brought me to a page of ready-made lesson plans. It’s the greatest thing after a break for a teacher to be able to walk in and without much thought provide connections to real-life happenings in the world. And this site does that. Here’s the link, if you want to check it out.

http://www.iamsyria.org/teaching-about-the-refugee-crisis-and-making-a-difference.html

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-12-00-51-pmThe VOX video above is also one of the resources provided, as is this link to a story sponsored by UNICEF about an underground playground for children of war. Who even knew that such a thing existed? But having raised two daughters myself, I can’t think of anything worse than being trapped in a home without an outlet of a playground. The link is included in a list of resources to teach elementary-aged children about the war.

These poor kids.

They haven’t been to school in years. They haven’t been children.

My heart hurts for them. And I think it’s time that we step up and ask children to learn about what’s going on in the world. The website also provides an opportunity for educators to issue a call to action, which is the best way through which children learn: give them a situation and then ask them to do something about it.

What better way is there to foster empathy? And isn’t that what we’re here to do? To raise thoughtful, informed, human beings with heart?

I urge you to check out this website today. You’ll be glad you did.

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