Urban Mirrors, City Windows: Exploring Identity and Standards through Culturally Responsive Literature and Instruction

Toya Watson, Language Arts, Ridge Road Middle

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


Culture is often difficult to define, but it influences everything from who you are as an individual to how you relate to other people at home and around the world. Just what is culture, and how does it contribute to the way you see the world, how does it impact how the world views you? In this unit, students will explore these questions by investigating factors that affect personal and cultural identities, including race, poverty, love, family, community, and socioeconomic factors. This curriculum’s aim is to provide students with a broad and diverse picture of who writes, specifically multicultural short stories, and what they write about. By engaging with and constructing different types of print and nonprint texts, students will discover how writers and speakers use voice to express cultural ideas and personal identities. My hope is that this unit will expose students to many ways of seeing themselves, challenge the way they perceive others and reward them with reading experiences that help students understand and check both their own implicit and explicit cultural biases.