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Lesson Plan June 16, 2021

'No Line Between the Water and the Sky': Muslim Women’s Voices Uniting Communities



This unit was created by Adelaida Jiyun Kim, a 4th grade teacher in Chicago, IL, as part of the spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Journalism and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately four 60 -minute live or virtual class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define and give examples of stereotypes, prejudice, bigotry, and combat
  • Paraphrase text and diverse media orally and in a written form 
  • Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations

Unit Overview

The 4-day unit is designed to center on the voices of a marginalized community, Muslim Americans, as a foundation for students to explore and celebrate the plurality of values and identities in their own classrooms. Students will be engaging with journalism, practicing active listening, compassion, and empathy, and meet differences with curiosity rather than prejudice. 

Students begin this unit by reading The Proudest Blue, a picture book by Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad that captures the challenges Faizah and Asiyah face when Asiyah wore her hijab to school. Students discuss discrimination and focus on the the hijab as a symbol of cultural identity.

Then students screen a short documentary film “Holding Fire.” The documentary follows Somia Elrowmeim, a naturalized American Yemeni immigrant and activist, who fights for the rights of South Brooklyn Muslims. The film provides a behind-the-scenes look at how grassroots organizing works especially during the modern Islamophobia period. 

Driven by the courage and joy that Faizah, Asiyah, and Somia demonstrate in celebrating their cultures and standing up in their communities, students will explore these themes in their classroom. This mini-unit is being taught as a part of a longer classroom exploration of conflict and resolution. 

Performance Task

Students begin this unit by examining stories about Muslim women in America who confront discrimination and lack of representation by embracing their identity and community. Then students discover the multiple identities in their classroom by interviewing each other, crafting portraits of one another, and celebrating the unique range of voices, backgrounds, interests, and passions that comprise their small community.

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