Digging into human rights

Posted 24 February 2016 12:00 AM by Lynn Mullin

Target Arts has returned to Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School! About half of the 5th grade class has participated in Target Arts since 2nd grade, so we have a great mix of students who are familiar with the program and students who are being exposed to it for the first time.

In the last four weeks, we have spent a lot of time exploring concepts in human rights. The students are already very knowledgeable about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several contemporary issues. We are supplementing this knowledge with lessons about values, self-awareness, and how choices affect others. Our foundational text this year is the young reader’s edition of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.

This group is particularly good at thinking deeply about subjects. They revel in discoveries and creating connections. For instance, after discussing the events leading up to Malala’s first official protest over her banned education, we showed a news story that included an interview with her and her father. One of the students exclaimed, “Wait! She’s real?” and the classroom became a flurry of discussion and awe. These students are introspective, not afraid to say what they think, and ready to learn.

Coming up, we will begin turning our focus to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a United Nations document that has been ratified by all but three member nations: South Sudan, Somalia, and the United States. After February break, the students will begin devising a show centering on this document, using art, music, dance, and theatre to inspire change.

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