Borders & Belonging | Facing History & Ourselves
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Borders & Belonging

This modular ELA collection for grades 7–12 invites students to explore the complicated world of belonging and the tangible and intangible borders that shape it.


About This Collection

This English Language Arts curriculum collection helps you explore with students how the human need for belonging can shape our lives and the world around us. Diverse stories and counter-stories introduce students to a variety of perspectives on the collection’s themes of borders and belonging. Some perspectives may resonate with a student’s own experience of belonging, while others may challenge and expand their thinking. Along the way, students consider their own agency to cultivate a sense of belonging for themselves and others, and develop their capacity to participate fully in conversations across difference. 

Explore our Coming of Age in a Complex World ELA Collection for more great resources that invite students to explore the complexity of identity and develop a sense of agency as they reflect on what it means to grow up in the world today.

This collection is designed to be flexible. You can use all of the resources or choose a selection best suited to your classroom. It includes:

The collection includes:

Coming Soon:

  • Text sets for additional grade bands:
    • Grades 9–10: Global Migration
    • Grades 11–12: Reimagining Home
  • Unit Guides for specific works of literature

Build Your Own Pathway

This collection is designed to be flexible, so you can choose the resources that are best suited to your unique context. To build your own pathway through the collection, we recommend selecting resources from each of the three categories below: Before Teaching, Getting Started in the Classroom, and Go Deeper.

To orient yourself to the collection’s themes and essential questions, we recommend that you start by watching one or more of these videos:

This collection includes two introductory lessons that develop students’ conceptual understanding of the tangible and intangible borders that shape our sense of belonging in the world. We encourage you to teach both introductory lessons before engaging students with other resources in the collection. 

These lessons can be used in grades 7-12; the materials are adaptable and modified versions of the readings are provided.

After building schema for the concepts of borders and belonging in the introductory lessons, students will be ready to engage in a thematic unit. 

You can teach the multimodal text set From Fitting in to Belongingdevelop and teach a unit on a book of your choice with the ELA Unit Planning Guide, or combine the two for a longer unit.

Access the wide range of Facing History resources for English Language Arts classrooms.

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