When I first heard about this project, I will go ahead and admit that I was far from excited. This project is definitely the most challenging experience that I have had as an undergraduate. And honestly, because of its daunting nature and the time that I knew I would have to spend on it, I put this project off for as long as humanly possible. But eventually, I had to sit down and focus all of my time and energy into completing what would become my MGP. For my MGP, I decided to focus my energy on trying to determine whether or not integration was a failure. As somewhat of an equal race activist and a middle grades major who is concentrating in both language arts and social studies, the Civil Rights movement that surrounds this novel and topic has always been very interesting to me.
For the MGP, we read the novel Warriors Don’t Cry and I decided to take on the persona of a teacher who had her students read this novel and then the activities and research that followed suit. Kylie Lambeth is a young teacher who was trying to find a unit that would get her eighth graders excited about learning and ready to further explore the topic- and she definitely succeeded. Throughout this website, you will see the work that Kylie and her students did trying to answer that one single question that she presented at the beginning of the unit: Was integration a Failure?
The most challenging part of this project came in two different ways. As a future teacher, the most challenging part was coming up with the different genres for the project and trying to think about what would come next in the unit. Since this is one of the first English classes I have taken within my concentration and we haven’t covered unit planning in our teacher education classes yet, deciphering what genre should go where and what I could do next was a bit of a struggle for me. However, in the end, I thought it turned out pretty well and overall, I was satisfied with the flow of the genres. As I got closer and closer to the end of the project, I started to think about what I would change if I were to implement this into my own classroom someday- and how I could potentially make it better. I came to the conclusion that it would be interesting to see this type of unit taught as an interdisciplinary unit, although I’m still trying to find a way to tie math and science into the unit!
As a writer, the most difficult part was definitely the genres that forced me to revert back to an eighth grade perspective. As a twenty year old junior in college, it was extremely hard for me to think back to what I knew when I was in eighth grade and try to use that knowledge when writing from their perspective. Trying to sound like an eighth grader and trying not to use the information that I know about Little Rock and the status of integration was definitely a lot more challenging than I originally thought it would be.
I hope you enjoy my MGP as you dive into the eighth grade classroom of Kylie Lambeth and discover the answer to the question on everyone’s mind: Was Integration a Failure?