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Monday, June 5, 2017

BB&N Students Reflect

Sixth Grade Pen Pal and Mural Project
Leila Huff, Grade 6 Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher
Stevie Olson, Grade 6 Homeroom and Social Studies Teacher
Berhane Zerom, Grade 6 Homeroom and Math Teacher

Sixth grade students culminated their partnership with Al-Noor Academy with two visits: Al-Noor visited BB&N on Tuesday, May 16th and BB&N visited Al-Noor Academy in Mansfield on Monday, May 22nd.

During each visit, students worked on their mural that they had been discussing via pen pal correspondence this year. In addition to completing the mural, students participated in a variety of activities including a found poetry exercise and a calligraphy workshop. The relationships the students fostered demonstrated their honest and deep consideration of the topic “How should we strive to communicate as global citizens?”

The students reflected on what they learned from their experiences both as hosts and guests to Al-Noor Academy below:

I learned that we should not judge people by their differences and just because people dress differently and have different practices doesn't mean we should look at them differently. I learned that the Al-Noor kids are just like us and we share a lot in common even though we have very different lives. I think that this experience brought me much closer to my pen-pal because we were able to develop a good friendship and we made important connections. –Tasha

I personally grew from the visit to Al- Noor in many ways. Coming into this relationship I held lots of stereotypes and ignorances that the kids at Al-Noor would be much different than us. But it turned out that this was not the case. My pen pal whose name is Karim, is exactly like me! He plays Roblox, he has an PS4, He likes the same foods as me, everything! But usually because of people’s beliefs, religion, and race, people are viewed differently than they actually should be viewed. For me, none of this matters. As long as someone has a good personality then that is all that matters. –Marcel

I grew a lot from our partnership with Al-Noor Academy because we were able to interact with and send and receive letters from people that we wouldn't usually talk to or hang out with. I think that this experience has been educational for everyone from both schools because it is something that 6th graders at BB&N and Al-Noor participate in every year and I think we have this partnership so that BB&N students can step a little outside of their comfort zone. I know that before I met my pen pal, Leena, I definitely wouldn't have been as comfortable around kids wearing headscarves and stuff simply because they were "different," but after having multiple conversations with her and her friends at Al-Noor I realized that they actually aren't as different from me than I thought, so that was a really healthy realization because it will aid me in not making assumptions about people before I really get to know them. –Madison B

At Al-Noor I grew and learned because I got to experience someone else's religion and way of life which helped me empathize and also connect with the students there. Before the trip to Al-Noor, I didn't know any Muslims, but now I have experienced how they go about their day which I think was a great learning experience. I also learned that although my pen pal was different than me, she was very kind and alike me in many ways that I didn't expect. I think that the connections and friendships I developed with my pen pal at Al-Noor was very important because she was a different race and religion than me, but to be able to connect with her really helped show me that everyone can be friends and connect no matter how different we are. This is also one of the first times I have befriended someone of her race, so I think it was a good lesson to learn that I shouldn't be afraid to do that more. –Madera

It was so fun hanging out with my Al Noor buddy! At first when I heard that about the Al Noor partnership, I was a little scared about meeting the other kids because of all the stories I have heard about Muslim terrorists on the news. When I first saw the girls coming out of the Al Noor bus wearing the hijabs, I thought that they were different and odd. When the boys starting walking out, I realized that they wore the same things as us and were also anxious to meet us. After getting to know everyone, I realized that I was wrong. They are the same as us, and I should not have thought that I was superior in anyway. –Ryan

The Al-Noor partnership has made me realize and become aware of all the biases I thought I never had against their community. It has  shown me how much people in this world could accomplish if we actually did strive to communicate as global citizens. –Saanika

I grew from the Al-Noor partnership by overcoming some personal ignorances about people who are different from me. Before meeting Fariha face to face and sending letters to her I thought that she would be really different. I believed that she wouldn't like the same things as me or acted different. But after meeting Fariha, I realized that we aren't so different after all, she likes to play outside and hang out with friends just like I do, she doesn't like sitting in school all day long just like I do, and she likes and appreciates science just like I do. The partnership really helped me understand that although people may look different, they are similar to you. I think that the connections were very valuable. It was very fun to make a new friend and learn about her through letters and in person and it helped me become a less ignorant person and a better global citizen by getting to know someone who I thought was "different". –Gabi

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