HM - Nov. 2016 - Roberson/Venzor/Warrior

Classroom Applications

Understanding the Refugee Crisis

by Destiny Warrior- 7th Grade World Geography, Jarman Middle School, Midwest City, OK
JJ Venzor- 9th Grade Oklahoma History, Midwest City High School, Midwest City, OK
Tracey Roberson - 7th Grade World Geography; Eastern Hemisphere, Tomlinson Middle School, Lawton, OK 

Grade Level
7th Grade

World Geography

In this lesson, students will explore the concepts of collective and individual responsibility in relation to the refugee crisis in Syria through a variety of reading, listening, and speaking activities.

Essential Questions
What are our collective responsibilities to crisis?

State and/or Advanced Placement Standards & NCHE Habits of Mind
Geography Standard: 
13: How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
Content Standard:
3.2: Analyze from multiple perspectives the impact of natural disasters on human populations resulting in forced migration, scarcity of consumer goods, and loss of employment 
3.3: The student will examine the interactions of physical systems that shape
the patterns of Earth’s surface in the Eastern Hemisphere.
3.4: Cite specific textual and visual evidence to analyze reasons for conflict and cooperation among groups, societies, countries, and regions of the Eastern Hemisphere and
the involvement of multinational organizations of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, etc.

NCHE Habits of Mind:
Shared Humanity: acquire at one and the same time a comprehension of diverse cultures and of shared humanity.
People Who Made a Difference: recognize the importance of individuals who have made a difference in history, and the significance of personal character for both good and ill.

Objectives / Goals
Students will: Describe how nations, communities, and states cooperate in providing relief efforts during and after natural disasters (e.g., donations of money and food aid, sending medical teams and supplies, construction workers and equipment).
Students will: Analyze activities in the local community to describe ways in which people solve problems by cooperating

Assessments: I got 99 problems, is a refugee one?
The Student will show their understanding of cooperation in relationship to the Syrian Refugee Crisis by creating a Google Slide presentation consisting of 3 slides that explain their position on whose responsibility it is to provide assistance to Syrian refugees, and why. The presentation should incorporate the individual, national, and global responsibility. 

Key Concepts/Vocabulary: 
Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
Migration: Human migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intentions of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location. The movement is often over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible; indeed, this is the dominant form globally.
Displacement: the moving of something from its place or position.
Asylum: the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee.
Crisis: a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
Resettlement: the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another State that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grant them permanent settlement. UNHCR is mandated by its Statute and the UN General Assembly Resolutions to undertake resettlement as one of the three durable solutions.
Country of Origin: is the country of manufacture, production, or growth where an article or product comes from. There are differing rules of origin under various national laws and international treaties.
Integration: the action or process of integrating.
Civil War: a war between citizens of the same country.

Online Stopwatch
Freewriting Instructional Strategy
Syria refugee crisis FAQ: How the war is affecting children | World Vision
K20 Center- Instructional Strategy- Parking Lot
Syria's war: Who is fighting and why
Syrian Refugees: A Human Crisis Revealed in a Powerful Short Film
3X5 Index Cards

Instructional Procedure 

1. Teacher will begin by asking students to free write for five minutes about the following questions: What are your responsibilities? Why do you have them? How did you get them?  Teacher will guide students through the Think-Write-Pair-Share Strategy.

Implementation Tips
*Teacher may use an online timer to display the time for students. One can be found at:
*Instructional Strategy-Freewrite:
* Instructional Strategy- Think-Write-Pair Share
Think- Write- Pair-Share Instructional Strategy

A.    Think individually about the topic/problem or prompt.
B.    Write your answer using the procedure your teacher has given.
C.    Pair with a partner who is near you.
D.   Share your thoughts, questions, and ideas with your partner and prepare for the class share.

2. At the end of the Think-Write-Pair- Share strategy, teacher will solicit answers from students to share with the entire class.

1. Next, teacher will display the following picture for students to view.
** Picture may be found in the slideshow at this link:

Image Courtesy of
Teacher will place students in groups of four. Giving them five minutes discuss and predict the answers to the following 5W+H questions:
Who are these people?
Where are they?
Why are they here?
What are they doing?
When is this taking place?
How did they get to this place?

After students have finished, they will find the answers to these questions by going to the link: 

In a whole group discussion, teacher will ask the following questions:
How did your predictions compare with the actual reality of the situation?
How did your predictions contrast with the actual reality of the situation?
What questions do you have about the people or their situation?
** Teacher will list questions on the board as the students give them and put them in a parking lot on the topic.
Teaching Tips:

Teacher will ask students to view the following video that outlines the history of the Syrian Crisis:

Teacher will then ask students to view the video again with specific students specifically looking for one aspect of the film which include but are not limited to:
•    Who is Bashar al Assad?
•    What percentage of the population is the Alawites?
•    Why were the people protesting?
•    How did the protests turn violent?
•    What was the response by the people/rebels?
•    What countries want to back Al Assad?
•    Why was the US having trouble supporting the rebels?
•    What could happen in Syria once Assad leaves power?
•    What will be the problems that the new leader will inherit?

**Two to three students will be given the same question to lessen stress put on any one individual student and to ensure that the answers are found. 

Teacher will have students share the answers aloud so that all students will have access to the information.

Teacher will ask students what do you think happened to the people in the middle of the war? Would you stay in the fighting or would you leave? 

Teacher will then ask students to view the following video that shows Syrian refugees and their journey/escape from Syria. and explain that many people have had to leave Syria due to the war.

Teacher will group students in groups of 4. Each group will be given a card with one of the following names:
•    Charity
•    Government of host country
•    Individual People
•    The international Community
•    Nobody

Students will be given ten minutes to list why this group may be responsible for assisting the refugees and why they may not be responsible to help refugees. Students should be able to answer questions from their peers and be able to support their answer with supporting evidence from articles and or case-studies.

** Teacher may use articles to have students read about the experience of refugees.  See additional resources for sample articles.

Additional Resources:
Mercy Corps: Refugees Share Their Stories of Loss, Hope, and Survival
Most Shocking Second a Day Video
Almasdar Collection: Refugee Crisis


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