Powerful Learning Extensions for the September Nonfiction Feature

By Lauren Salisbury
August 21, 2019

The narrative nonfiction feature in the September issue of Scope tells the powerful story of Bilan, a 15-year-old refugee from Somalia who is growing up in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. This article will build important knowledge about the global refugee crisis, what refugee camps are and why they exist, and how the international community can come together to help refugees find a path forward. After reading the article, explore the resources below to keep the learning going.

Guiding Questions:
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to and discuss as they explore the resources:

  • What forces people to leave their homelands?
  • What challenges do refugees face?
  • What is the responsibility of the global community to help people in crisis?
  • What can we do to help refugees?

Resources to keep your students’ learning going:

Read a powerful poem.

Nicola Davies is a children's book author in the United Kingdom. She wrote this poem about the experiences of child refugees in her country: “The Day the War Came.”

To discuss:

  • Davies writes, “And then I understood that war had got here too.” What does she mean?
  • What is the power of empathy and kindness?
Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images


Dig into the rich Scope archives with these articles about refugees in history and today.

Over the years, Scope has told several stories about refugees from all over the world. Here are a few that you and your students can read and discuss:

To discuss:

  • How is every refugee story different and unique?
  • What can we learn from each story?
  • Who are the helpers in their stories?

Explore novels about refugees.

There are many powerful books that explore the experiences of refugees. Here are a few that we love:

To discuss:

  • What forces each character to flee? 
  • Research the leaders of the countries in these stories. How do/did their beliefs and policies affect the lives of the characters?
  • Research these countries today. Has life in each of these places still the same or has it improved?

Explore a website to find out more about how refugees are being helped.

Direct students to this map on the website of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. There student can find resources and contacts for refugee support programs in their home state. Students can pick one organization to contact and learn about how that organization is helping refugees resettle in America.

To discuss:

  • What programs and services does the organization offer?
  • What can people like you can do to help refugees settle into a new life in your community or state?

Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

3 culminating activities to choose from:

  • In a well-organized essay, explain at least three challenges that refugees face and how those challenges can be overcome. Support your ideas with details from “I Live in a Refugee Camp” and at least one additional source.
  • Research careers that involve working with refugees. Pick three to five careers and create a presentation. Include the education required and what the jobs involve.
  • Research a refugee resettlement program. In the form of an essay, podcast, or video, explain what the program does and what its future should be.
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