Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane
Resources to help you teach the book in middle schools and high schools

Chapters 20–26

Classroom Video:
A Concluding Discussion

How do teachers and students wrap up the study of a book through meaningful conversation? Asking students to articulate how reading The Children of Willesden Lane has influenced them takes a willingness to tackle issues that could be difficult or emotional. It also requires an understanding that students will likely disagree with one another’s opinions, and the belief that they will learn from these differences.

In the video, English teacher Chris Mazzino facilitates an open-forum discussion with a group of high school students. Most of them are from his Creative Writing class; several others who have also read The Children of Willesden Lane join them. While not all the students in the classroom have studied the history of the era, all have participated in open discussions and are well practiced in supporting their positions from texts and from their own experiences and observations.

  • Students begin by talking about how they personally connect, or don’t connect, with the story of The Children of Willesden Lane.
  • Students grapple with difficult historical, philosophical, and ethical questions, such as, “How do we prevent genocide from happening again?,” “What makes a person responsible for another person?,” and “Can we ever stop hatred?”

Questions for Reflection

  • How do you create classroom environments where students are able to participate in “open-forum” discussions?
  • What is a teacher’s role in facilitating an “open-forum” discussion?
Students raise their hands during a class discussion


Teacher: Chris Mazzino
Grades: 10–12
Subject: English
Location: Scranton, PA

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