Classroom Activities: “Moments of Courage” (Action)
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Classroom Activities: “Moments of Courage” (Action)

>>BLACK: My name is Talisa Black, and I am a teacher in a middle school-high school in Georgia, and today we did an activity with the students basically talking about understanding courage and what it takes to be able to stand. So today we’ll be talking about a young man who went through some really hard times, and we’ll talk about what it takes to come out on the other side of those hard times and be courageous and determined to help other people. The first thing we started with was a Cambodian greeting. There’s an informal greeting and a formal greeting, so I’m going to teach you all the formal greeting first, okay? And it is “Choum reap sor.”>>STUDENTS: Choum reap sor.>>BLACK: Okay, good job. That’s the formal greeting, and then the informal greeting is “Soksaby.”>>STUDENTS: Soskaby.>>BLACK: You guys are like, on it. I like that. We just talked about just really being respectful and sensitive when you’re learning a new language or you’re approaching someone for the first time speaking a different language is that you want them to feel comfortable and that you’re genuine. Okay, so I’m going to tell you all a story, and this is about a young man, and his name is Arn Chorn-Pond. The second thing we did was I read a story about a young man named Arn Chorn-Pond, and his story– we just– I read it to the kids, and they were able to just reflect with each other and talk about what it took for him to come out of such a hard time, but then utilize that to fight and help other people. So here’s a question I want you guys to really reflect on: the first one is how might the saying “what doesn’t kill you strengthens you” apply in Arn’s life? If Arn had to come to your school, would you personally have gone out of your way to befriend him? Why or why not? Then I gave the kids a few review questions or questions just to kind of like open up the conversation– not necessarily something that they had to answer but just questions to get them thinking about like what it takes to be courageous after you come through something so hard or so tragic. They wrote down an act where they saw someone who went through something really hard, and they were able to stand on the other side and actually fight for someone else. The last part of this reflection time, I want you all to take some time to write down on your piece of paper a time where you witnessed, heard about, or you did yourself– three facts of a time that you witnessed a courageous act. So you write down those three facts, and then here are some questions that will help you think about those three facts, okay?>>STUDENT 1: I would say a courageous act that I heard about was 9/11 when the firefighters ran into the building and saved all the American citizens that were attacked from terrorists flying their planes into the buildings, so I would think that that is a very courageous act to run into a building that is on fire and save a lot of lives.>>STUDENT 2: We read the book The Hiding Place, and what really stuck out to me about that was the character Corrie ten Boom, and I think what really stood out to me in that was just her selflessness and her courage. During that time, like they decided to bring in Jews into their house, and I think that’s what really stuck out to me about them is because they had a choice whether or not they were gonna bring them in or not, but they decided to bring them in.>>STUDENT 3: Um, when I first came to the school, I didn’t really like know anybody, and so it had to be courageous to even come talk to the new kid– like just like a normal ordinary act of courage. Something that maybe people wouldn’t do, but it means a lot to the person who like people talk to.>>BLACK: I think another thing that this did was really gave the kids perspective and gave them just an opportunity to actually really learn about what other people go through and to really not take things for granted, you know, and that it does– that every little act matters– that they can– that them befriending someone who walks into the school for the first time or who looks a little different or doesn’t actually think the way they think or you know wasn’t born where they were born, but they can really– that the act– that small act of kindness or just inclusion makes someone feel really special, you know. And so, you just never know what someone’s going through, but if they can learn at this age that what they do matters– how they treat someone matters– it can have a lasting effect on someone– I think it’s a really good takeaway, so I thought it was a really, really good activity.

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