The first assignment I’ve created to go along with Dava Shastri’s Last Day is a racial identity formation personal essay so that students can explore the importance of skin color in their own lives, just like Sandi in the novel does. The artwork project that goes along with this essay is an opportunity for students to express themselves in another medium as well as gives them a chance to directly control the narrative of their experience realizing the color of their skin, particularly if that was traumatizing for them. Here’s the master folder with all of the documents needed for the Racial Identity Autobiography Personal Essay & Artwork Assignment.
As an educator, I strongly believe in showing students a good example of what a certain project or assignment looks like. I always make an effort to only assign my students things that: 1-I have shown a sample of and 2-included the rubric and discussed how it will be used to determine their grade. I can’t assume that they know what a personal essay looks like–or any other type of random thing they may or may not have done in my class or any other class!
“1000+56 Words” Artwork
This is an example for an accompanying artwork with the racial identity personal essay. I did not create this specifically for the personal essay, I created it while I was in college for a…diverse student event of some sort. However, I do think this works within the scope of the assignment! It can be tiring to create examples of all the assignments you’d like your students to do, so I’m all for shortcuts!! You can check out the writeup I wrote alongside this on MuslimMatters, which details my experience and trauma (most of it in school) around 9/11. Two other instances to note which haunted me through my schooling were one in junior high during a discussion in my English class and a second in high school with an incredibly Islamophobic teacher (he was a teacher of color–Latino!).
Dava for President? I’ll Pass!
I also discuss some Recent Reads. Here they all are: