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Fourth Grade Poems in the Asian Art Museum

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

One of our core learning beliefs at CDS is that interdisciplinary learning provides real opportunities for our students to understand how the world is interconnected. Last year, our fourth-grade students worked on a project which is a perfect example of this concept. They were working on a social studies unit focused on Asian immigration and California farmworkers at the same time as an English one where they learned how to write many different types of poetry: haiku, limericks, calligrams, free verse, and more.

Their teacher, Nicole Chin, decided to integrate the two topics and asked that the students create poems about what they’d learned. The resulting poems explored many years of social issues, ranging from the Chinese Exclusion Act of the 19th century to Japanese internment and exploitation of farmworkers in the 20th century to the COVID-fueled racism of modern times. After the young poets looked at each other’s work, one student observed that non-white immigrants today face many of the same types of discrimination as in the past. "That's part of the problem,” one of their peers replied. “Their immigration stories are so similar and people still don't know about them."

Our students are doing their part to educate their peers and community, because their message is now available to a wider audience. Our friends at the Asian Art Museum have allowed us to display the poems in their lobby, and you’ll be able to see them in the windows of the Koret Classroom until December. “We hope that this display of art and poetry brings the visibility that our marginalized communities deserve,” Nicole told us.