Getting a Handle on KWL (pt. 2)

Yay…PSSA Week…might as well finish watching our movie.

However, this also seemed like an opportunity to have students continue their work creating and answering their own questions.

Rather than fall back on the ol’ low-ball “write 10 facts from the movie” routine, I instead asked students to write down 10 questions about the movie over the course of four days. I think this task is easier said than done, because students have to simultaneously listen and watch to get information. I reminded students to be as specific as possible to avoid questions like, “What was that guy talking about during that thing?”

So far so good after a few days. Engagement during class discussion seems to be higher in general. Although for the most part, there are only a few students that drive discussion by volunteering to share their questions, there have been a lot more students volunteering to answer questions. If nothing else, my students can’t stonewall me when I ask if anyone has questions.

So in solidarity with my students, I have some questions:

  • How much time do we spend collecting information to create questions vs. answering questions?
  • Should students only develop their own questions on their own, or should they work together to do it? Or both?
  • Who should spend more time answering the questions? Me? Their peers? Do I just keep throwing them back in until they figure it out on their own?
  • What about student questions that never get answered? What about AMAZING student questions that never get answered?

I don’t know the answers. I don’t think there are clear answers. But these are my thoughts so far:

  • At the moment I’m all fired up about student-generated questions, but it stands to reason that eventually getting answers to at least some of the questions is probably important too.
  • Creating a flexible structure is key.
  • Of course, the chief enemy is time.
  • Hooray for PLNs! Some awesome feedback from a connection on Edmodo directed me to a strategy I’d never heard of called Question Formulation Technique. It ties together a lot of ideas that were loosely bouncing around in my head. Although I feel like it’s a too late for steps one and two this time around, I can still easily incorporate steps three through six.

Step One: Create a prompt

The most effective prompts for this activity are statements that are focused clearly enough so that there is a direct link to the purpose of the lesson and are neutral enough so that students feel free to respond to the prompt. Many teachers use prompts that begin with stems such as “Your role/task is to…” or “You want to / A group wants to.” A prompt could also be a description of a class project.

Step Two: Students generate questions
In groups, give students a fixed amount of time (5-10 minutes) to generate a list of questions, adhering to these rules:

1)      Write down the questions exactly as they are said

2)      Do not stop to discuss or answer the questions

3)      Write down as many questions as you can

4)      Statements should be rephrased as questions.

Step three: Students identify open and closed questions
Ask students to look at their lists and put an “O” by all of the open-ended questions (questions with many possible answers) and a “C” by questions that elicit one answer (a “yes/no” question or a question with a factual answer).  Then, have students change one of their open questions into a closed question and one closed question into an open question.

 Step four: Students prioritize questions
Have groups select 3 questions from their list. It could be the three questions they find most interesting or important or the three questions that they think need to be addressed first.

 Step five: Groups share questions
When groups present their questions, ask them to share why they selected these three. The questions that the class generates can be used as the focus of a class discussion, a writing assignment, a research project, or as a tool to help you plan future lessons.

 Step six: Reflections
Give students the opportunity to reflect on this process by writing in a journal and/or through a brief discussion.

*This six-step summary is available for download at

 So here’s my checklist for the rest of the unit:

  • Spend some time in the textbook. We actually haven’t done that yet this unit. I also want to try out a new open-ended study guide format.
  • Take a day or two to regroup and reassess our KWL list. What do the students know now? Which of their questions have they answered? What questions do they have left?
    • Complete steps three, four and five from QFT.
    • Maybe give another day or two in the computer lab to let students do research to find more answers. I swear it feels like such a guessing game to figure out the best time to go to the computer lab. What I wouldn’t give for a 1-1 laptop classroom…
    • Develop an assessment plan to close out the unit.
      • Teacher-generated questions. What key questions do I want students to answer to ensure we address essential content? I am thinking of using a counter argument format. For example, “Mr. Walp says that the Native Americans were not important during the French and Indian War. Prove him wrong!”
      • Student-generated questions. Let students select a few questions they created AND answered during the unit. This should be a mix of closed and open questions. The most interesting part for me is that this will result in completely individualized tests, but it shouldn’t be any more challenging to grade than my current format which is almost exclusively based on essay responses at this point.
      • Mandatory reflection component.
        • What did students like/not like about creating their own questions? 
        • What was the most important question they had, that did not get answered? I could answer them back on their reflection. 
        • Suggestions for improvement.


Go to Part 3


Comments and feedback welcome!

Slavery Unit Reflection

The results are in. These data are based on surveys the students completed at the end of the unit.  Just over half of my students agreed to let me use their responses (I included an “opt-in” checkbox on the survey).


Slavery Most Effective

Sample student responses

Modern Day Slavery

“I think the most effective lesson in my opinion was Modern Day Slavery because it made everyone realize this is still happening in front of our eyes and around the world”

“Modern Day Slavery because I learned so much about what is going on in our world right now that I had no idea about.”

“Modern Day Slavery because even though other lessons were powerful, this really prepared us and got our emotions  show through before we start it.”

Middle Passage

“Middle Passage because I felt so much empathy toward the slaves.”

“The most effective lesson in the slavery unit was the Middle Passage because it taught us how they got here and what happened before they were in plantations.”

“The most effective was the Middle Passage because I really felt bad about how the slaves were taken from their homeland and it spoke to me.”

Slave Codes

“The Slave Codes because they really outline what we were learning and it talks about the treatment of slaves.”

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

“Frederick Douglass was the most effective because it was his words telling how horrible it was.”

“Frederick Douglass: I liked hearing an actual opinion or ideas from someone who was physically involved in slavery and knows how hard it was.”

“The story of Frederick Douglass gave us a first-hand account of the brutalities of slavery. Seeing how much disrespect for human life the slave owners gave their slaves made me absolutely appalled.”

My thoughts

I was very happy with the students overall emotional connection to the topic across multiple lessons.  I definitely invested more in the Modern Day Slavery and Frederick Douglass lessons. I think a lot of students preferred the Middle Passage unit because we watched a video. I knew the slave codes was the weakest component even as I was planning it.


Slavery Least Effective



Sample student responses

Modern Day Slavery

“Modern Day Slavery because we didn’t spend a lot of time on it and there wasn’t a lot to learn.”

“Modern Day Slavery I thought was the least effective because it did tell us what was going on today with slavery, but it did not give information about the past, and we were studying the past.”

“The topic of Modern Day Slavery was the least effective because we did not see the disrespect given to the slaves as much as we did in the other topics. Mr. Walp should still keep this lesson in to show that the issue of slavery is still alive.”

Middle Passage

“Middle Passage because we were just told about it, we didn’t get to hear about it from someone who experienced it.”

“Middle Passage because I already knew that the slaves came to America with terrible conditions. I didn’t learn much new stuff.”

“The Middle Passage because I can’t comprehend what it was really like.”

Slave Codes

“Slave codes. I think the stories and actual examples were more impactful and meaningful than the slave codes themselves.”

“The Slave Codes because you did not get any emotion in that.”

“Slave Codes because it was more the political side, and sometimes numbers and cold hard facts don’t sink in as much.”

Narrative of Frederick Douglass

“Frederick Douglass because it only showed the view of one slave.”

“I feel like the least effective lesson was about Frederick Douglass. I didn’t like this lesson because it’s ending was short and there weren’t a lot of details.”

“Frederick Douglass because we already knew all of that from the slave codes.”

My thoughts:

Modern Day Slavery – Overall very solid. The point of the lesson was not to go into high detail about modern day slavery, but to build empathy. I think the evidence strongly suggests that it accomplished that goal.

Middle Passage – This lesson didn’t have a focus on one person, but it was a video so it was easy to visualize. I was this close to including primary source excerpts from Olaudah Equiano but I was concerned that it would be too overwhelming (in terms of workload) when combined with the Frederick Douglass narrative.

Slave Codes – Why oh why didn’t I include some runaway slave advertisements?  That was definitely a lost opportunity. This lesson was a classic example of knowing that it wasn’t quite right, but not sure how to fix it at the time. I think that the Virginia slave codes lesson was fine, but I overreached on the broader timeline of slavery. The main concern is that I don’t want to just focus on Virginia, it is important for students to realize that slavery was legal and enforced everywhere during the colonial period, not just the South. I think if I revamp the timeline and add some runaway slave ads this will be much better for next time.

Frederick Douglass – Looking back, I actually wasn’t super clear that this reading was supposed to represent the general condition of slaves, so it is easy to understand how some students might have thought it was too specific. Happily, several students were upset that we didn’t read the entire autobiography! I am totally interested in doing that next year. We could read the whole thing still do close reading for a few passages.


Comments and feedback welcome!

Getting a handle on KWL

So for awhile now I have been trying to incorporate student-generated questions into instruction. The most common method for doing this that I am aware of is the “Know-Want to Know-Learned” (KWL) model. It probably has a lot of different names, but that is what is was called when I went to college. The basic model is a three column chart. Students list their existing knowledge in the KNOW column, create questions or make predictions in the WANT to know column, and track their learning over time in the LEARNED column.

Sounds great, right? Then why have I had such a hard time figuring out how to effectively incorporate a formal KWL into instruction?


Roadblocks to implementation:

1. Remember to do it. OK, so this one is totally on me. I guess I should add it to the collection of Post-It notes on my desk and computer monitor.

2. Make time to do it. Easier said than done, right? However, my sense is that process takes a full class period. Completing the first two columns (KNOW – WANT to know) works great as a class activity because it creates easy opportunities for Pair and Share collaboration and student driven class discussion.

3. Timing. This one is trickier than it might seem at first. The great fear is that students’ will just respond with a resounding “NOTHING!” for prior knowledge, which will lead inevitably to an equally enthusiastic “NOTHING!” for what else they want to learn…and then we all just stare at each other uncomfortably for a few minutes before I change the subject. I believe strongly that students need a chance to browse the topic before starting a KWL graphic organizer for two reasons.

  • First, it gives students a chance to actually develop prior knowledge. Yeah sure, most of the time students are “familiar” with a topic because they learned about it in a previous unit or grade level. But what about the kid that shockingly doesn’t remember a specific history unit from two or three years ago? What about the student that moved in the middle of the year, and his old school had a completely different curriculum? What if they just didn’t pay attention the last time they saw it? Give students a day or two to explore in the textbook or online. Show a video. Do something to help them access the memory banks, or generate new connections.
  • Second, I don’t think it is reasonable to ask students to generate their own questions for understanding, which is a task near the very top of the Bloom’s taxonomy, without giving them supports. They don’t know what they don’t know at first. But give them a little taste…and the questions come flying out. I have found that maps, particularly before and after maps, are incredibly useful to help students generate questions.

4. Make it meaningful (a.k.a Follow through). This is actually where I have stumbled the most. I have asked students to create and submit a list their own questions on multiple occasions…but then what? Now I have a big pile of questions. It’s too much information for me to process, which at least in part contributes to problem #1 and 2 for me. So, what usually happens is…nothing. I look at their questions. I feel super happy that they came up with awesome questions. I wonder what to do next. I don’t do anything with the questions. I have a vague sense of failure as a teacher.

Happily, I feel like I have finally connected the dots a little bit.

We are learning about the French and Indian War right now. Honestly, I came into the unit a bit disorganized. I spent so much time and energy on the slavery unit, that I just needed to take my foot off of the gas pedal for a few days and regroup. So, in true history teacher fashion, I decided it was the perfect time to watch a movie. The PBS documentary “War that Made America” is superb. Part One highlights the first two battles of the war, and prominently features George Washington. I started it about 8 minutes in, but it still ran slightly over one period.

We had a brief discussion after the movie about main groups that were fighting, and the different fighting styles that were used. In short, I asked the students to consider what the British have to do differently if they want to start winning some battles.

Then, I gave them a packet with some quick facts and two blank maps. I asked the students to try to find some patterns in the timeline. Typical answers included: the French won a lot in the beginning and the British won a lot in the end, they usually only fought during the summer months, and it looked like a lot of fighting happened in the year 1758. Then we colored in the before and after maps. I simply asked student to describe the difference between the two maps. Of course everyone pointed out how much territory changed, especially between England and France. (On a side note, I had a real “D’oh!” moment when I realized how much more sense it would have made to color British territory red and French territory blue. Oh well.)



French and Indian War map (After 1763)



Then we spent two days in the computer lab. I asked students to find answers to key questions using the French and Indian War resources posted on my page. Their homework after completing their initial research was to create three questions where they wanted to learn more information.

That brought us to today.

Walking in the door I asked the students to summarize what they knew about the French and Indian War in 3-5 sentences. They could use their notes to help. Class discussion to fill out the “Know” column on a T-chart on the white board was quick and painless. All five classes generally came up with the same basic facts.

The British were fighting against the French.

They fought over land.

They were fighting over the Ohio River Valley.

Native Americans fought for both sides.

There were more Native Americans fighting for the French than the British.

George Washington was a British officer.

France won a lot of battles at first.

The British won the war.

France lost most of its land in North America.

It was also called the Seven Years War.

Cool so far. To keep the mental juices flowing, I then asked students to categorize each fact as “France” “America/British” “Native American” or “Other”. They could use more than one category for each, but I preferred if they picked just one, otherwise we would quickly fall into an “all of the above” trap. I clarified that it didn’t matter which category they used, as long as they could explain why (The fact that it was also called the Seven Years War was a prime example of the “other” category).

Then we moved on the “WANT to know” column. I asked them to take a few seconds and categorize the questions they made for homework into the same groups (French, American/British, Native American, Other). They then had ten minutes talk with anyone in the class to complete a task sheet to find 8-10 (depending on the class) questions, including the three questions they already had from their homework. Finally, I asked the students to identify the two most important questions on their list with a star. The last ten or so minutes of class was spent taking volunteers to share their questions for the T-chart. This is where it really felt like everything was paying off, they came up with terrific questions.

Sample of student questions:

Did Britain and France always fight?

How many people died?

How many people died for each group?

How did the British win?

Why was the Battle of Quebec important?

Did France ever go on the offense in the war?

Why did the British fight differently from the French and Indians?

Were the Native American axes more powerful than guns?

Why did the Native Americans have guns?

Why did more Native Americans fight with the French?

What happened to the Native Americans after the war?

What is Pontiac’s Rebellion?

How did George Washington become a British officer?

Why did George Washington fight for the British in French and Indian War and against the British in the American Revolution?

Why did France help America during the American Revolution?

Why did Spain help France?

What if France had won the war?

How was the rest of Europe impacted by the war?

What if more Native Americans had fought for the British?

How did the colonies deal with all the new land they got from winning the war?


I did a few things during this discussion that I think were really important to help it be more successful than in the past.

  • I did NOT try to answer the questions. Usually I get so caught up in “teacher mode” that I just start lecturing. I think that tendency is a killer for this activity because it means we only get to hear a couple of questions and I step on my own toes by making later lessons and activities redundant.
  • I had the students keep their question sheet rather than turn in it for me to put in a pile on my desk. Now they always have their questions ready to go for study or discussion. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think an effective closure for a lesson would be to have them re-read their list and check off any questions we answered that day.
  • I made them promise to keep me honest. The students kept their list of questions for later reference (This was not a graded assignment). Our goal is to find the answers to their questions before the end of the unit. If they find their answers as a natural result of lessons in the unit, great! If not, make sure to ask me, or another student, again later on. It seems like this will create a cool infrastructure for class discussions throughout the unit. When in doubt, check the list.

I feel pretty hopeful about the elusive KWL finally working out for me. I’ll have to ask the students for their perspective to be sure. Just for kicks, I also want to somehow incorporate their questions into the unit assessment as well. More on that later I guess.

Go to Part 2



Comments and feedback welcome!

It begins…


Today was the first day that I met with interested students that wanted to do something about modern day slavery.

As promised, I assured them that we were starting with a blank slate. Anything we do as group will have to be driven by their work…but they’ll have a lot of support and encouragement. Our principal is enthusiatically on board. The student council has already agreed to support whatever activities we develop. The guidance counselor has already sent me an article to share. It’s go time.

I created an Edmodo group to serve as a our rough draft area to post and explore links. I introduced them to Edmodo in the fall, so other than the requisite “I forgot my password” issues, it only took a few minutes to get up an running.

Once things got settled down, we had about 25 minutes to find resources and share to the Edmodo page. We are set to meet again next Wednesday, I asked them to take a few minutes in the next week to find and post some more links and/or comment on links already on the page. Basically, any students that ACTUALLY do that are self-identifying as the group leaders as far as I am concerned.

Edmodo is great, but we need share resources publicly as well, so I compiled their findings to a page.

That’s about it so far, but it feels good to get started. In future meetings, we’ll have to get more organized about doing targeted research and setting some goals. I expect the group to thin out a bit as we get to the “work” phase, but as long as we have a solid handful, we can get things done.


Comments and feedback welcome!

Survivor #50595

Our English classes are studying literature from the Holocaust, and today Holocaust survivor Julius Jacobs came to to tell his story to our entire 8th grade class. In addition to visiting our school for the past ten years, Julius has spoken to dozens of other schools, churches and civic groups.

I’ve took Holocaust studies as an undergrad, read survivor autobiographies, and I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum in D.C., but I’ve never personally had the opportunity to hear a survivor account in person. Of course, it’s just different…more powerful. Basically, I got to have the experience that I wanted my students to have when we looked at modern day slavery.

It was particularly crushing to see and hear the Julius’s anguish, even 70 years later, as he recalled the last time he saw his mother and father at “the selection” in Auschwitz. Julius was actually selected not once, but twice for selection himself, and both times was saved by good fortune.

The last question Julius took from the a student in the audience was, “Why do you keep telling your story?

Julius’s answer was elegant and heartfelt. He swore to God that if he survived, he would spend his life telling others what happened. He wants us to never forget what people are capable of if they are governed by fear and hate. Do not judge others for their differences. Our differences do not matter. We are all one people.

Sometimes life just drops a teachable moment in your lap.

When we got back to class, I asked the students to consider the similarities between experiences of the Jewish people during the Holocaust, and experiences of the African slaves. Here are some of the comparisons they came up with.

Both Jews and Africans were:

Killed in the millions.

Forced to work as slaves for the benefit of their masters.

Mistreated or killed by their captors for any reason…or no reason.

Allowed barely enough food, clothing or shelter to survive.

Died from starvation, disease and suicide.

Forcibly separated from their families.

Persecuted simply for belonging to a certain group.

Treated as “other” or “less than”.


Julius Jacobs dedication page

Comments and feedback welcome!

Close Reading: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


I won’t lie…although I don’t regret any of the lessons I’ve developed, or the discussions we’ve had in class, this slavery unit is starting to feel too long. It’s hard to tell though, we’ve had so many school cancellations and delays for weather, plus the President’s Day holiday, that my perspective is probably off. All told I think it will be three total weeks of class by the time all is said and done. A long unit to be sure, but not crazy long. But still, if I’m starting to feel it, then the students must certainly be ready to move on. Oh well, in the home stretch now.

After our introduction with modern day slavery, we examined the horrors of the Middle Passage, the Virginia slave codes, and a comprehensive timeline of slavery throughout all of the thirteen colonies. One of my overarching goals for this unit was to help my students to appreciate the full extent and power of the system that was in place to virtually eliminate any possibility that slaves would fight back or try to run away…because if they don’t understand that simple, powerful truth, then I fear that the inevitable, if unstated, conclusion would be that the slaves were too unintelligent, weak, or cowardly to do so.

As a culminating activity for our slavery unit, I wanted to use a primary source to help students see daily life from a slave’s point of view. Our curriculum does not extend to the mid-1800’s, but I felt that the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass was the best overall resource available due to its relatively accessible language, vivid imagery, and well-known author. Additionally, I wanted to finally try my hand at a structured close reading lesson, something which I had never done before.

The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a fairly quick read at only 188 pages, but close reading is a time intensive activity, so I knew that I wanted to work with an abridged version. Luckily, the work is in the public domain and available in full text online, so it only took an hour or so to create a customized primary source to fit perfectly within the unit! I decided to focus on the first few chapters where Douglass describes his life as a child in slavery.

I took about ten minutes or so to introduce Frederick Douglass to the class. When students arrived, the picture above was on the screen. When I asked students if they had heard of Douglass, many hands went up, but only a few knew anything concrete about him. The most common knowledge was that he used to be a slave. I gave a brief overview of his life, including some context on the national and regional attitudes toward slavery in his time. Then I showed a quick video introduction, which largely reinforced what I had already presented. On a side note, I found a surprising dearth of short Frederick Douglass biographies on YouTube given his importance in our country’s history. There were a handful of longer format documentaries, but the video below was one of the few worth using that was under 5 minutes run time.



The abridged text that we used included excerpts from three chapters of the Narrative, so I basically just repeated the procedure below three times. I think that pacing is a particularly important concern with close reading to keep it from getting bogged down. I actually used a little electronic stopwatch during steps 2, 3, 4 and 6. Even so, with the introduction, and a follow up day for the students to complete an activity reflection and develop a rough draft, the whole lesson will take us six days to complete.

Step 1: Read aloud

Each chapter excerpt is only 3-5 paragraphs, so this part only took a few minutes. I read aloud while students silently read along. Since the passage was fairly short, I took a little bit of time to bring it to life a bit by speeding up, slowing down or pausing to build tension, and changing my inflection to cue students to particularly strong ideas. However, I did not give additional commentary or context…it’s OK for students to come out of this part with questions for clarification.

Once I finished reading, I told the students which paragraphs we are going to focus on for deeper analysis. (For each chapter, I pre-selected two paragraphs for close reading and discussion.)

Step 2: Re-read and post it

Students had 3-5 minutes (depending on the class) to silently re-read the two paragraphs and use colored Post-It strips to highlight important information. I asked them to use one pink strip for each paragraph, and least one yellow strip for both paragraphs combined. At first, I said that students only needed to use a yellow strip to mark a spot that they didn’t understand but, surprise surprise, very few students were willing use a cute little flag to inform me and their peers that they didn’t “get it”. However, one simple change yielded great results!


Step 3: Reader 1/Reader 2 annotations

Each student was given a graphic organizer that aligns with the paragraphs of the reading.

Students had five minutes to complete annotations as Reader 1. I repeatedly reinforced the idea that they should respond to the reading, rather than just try to summarize it. Bullet points were OK. Opinions, emotions, and personal connections were OK. The Post It notes were a great anchor for this part, and I told them, “If you don’t know what to write, write about your Post It notes.”

Then, students had another five minutes to do second round of annotations as Reader 2. To ensure that they saw a variety of responses, I did not have students pair up. Instead, they exchanged papers in their small groups a different way (clockwise – counterclockwise – diagonal) for each chapter. They had to read the Reader 1 comments before they wrote anything as Reader 2. They could not repeat any information. However, they could respond to Reader 1 by agreeing, disagreeing, adding more information, etc. I think that the Reader 2 role was a bit tricky for students to “get” at first, but by the second time around, they were doing great.

Step 4: Pair and share small group discussion

Three to five minutes for students to talk about their annotations in their small groups. This is one of my most frequently used strategies, so the students are very accomplished at it by this point. I feel it is a terrific way for all students to share, and hear different ideas prior to, or during, class discussion.

Step 5: Class discussion

I did not have set agenda for this part because I wanted to be responsive to their questions and concerns. Again, my goal was for students to have a general sense of the daily life of a slave, rather than recall any one specific fact. However, since we were only discussing two paragraphs of text, it was pretty easy to hit all of the main ideas in 15-20 minutes. I use numbered popsicle sticks for random selection, so I just grabbed four or five and started calling on people…summarize each paragraph, what quote did you pick and why, what else did you want to know that wasn’t in the text, etc.

Step 6: Summary journal

Students had 10 minutes to complete a summary of the two paragraphs. We do 3-5 sentence journals almost everyday as warm ups or exit slips, so they are very comfortable with that. Even so, I was initially surprised at how much longer it took the students to summarize the text, but in retrospect, that made sense given that we were using a primary source instead of a textbook.



So, I am still in the middle of things (we are doing class discussion for the second chapter tomorrow), but it seems to be going well so far. I am definitely looking forward to the students’ feedback on their unit reflection journals!


Check out what the students thought about this lesson!


Comments and feedback welcome!

Student Responses to Modern Day Slavery

These are a sampling of student response to our lesson on Modern Day Slavery. All quotes are printed with permission of the authors.


“We are all living on the same earth, and we are supposed to all be equal importance, but still people are enslaved without choice.”

“The whole idea of stealing someone’s life to benefit your own makes me wonder what people think justifies their actions, and how they can go so long staring at people break down in front of them.”

“It angers me that there are still so many people that are slaves. Every single human being has rights, so why do some people treat them like they have none? The word that comes to mind when I think of slavery is captivity. This is because those people are held against their will, but they know nothing else. They are literally like animals in a zoo because of the way people treat them.”

“It is very upsetting to know that people in the land of the free are still in slavery. How are we letting that happen anywhere, even more so in our own country?”

“I don’t understand how people could have slaves. It is so wrong to have somebody else do work that nobody should go through just to make your life better. There should be more people that are educated about slavery so we can end it. I think we all take the way our lives are for granted, but so many of us forget about all those who have no choice in how they live their lives.”

“When I saw the images on the video, I was so angry, screaming inside, that this should be illegal. The children had to work so hard, and I thought that school was hard. I think that the U.S.A. should help and donate. Then again, I think that if we donate money and food the slave owners will just keep it for themselves and not tell the slaves. If I could, I would donate anything to the slaves personally.”

“I feel disgusted at myself. 5 years ago I would cry if I didn’t get the toy I wanted, but 5 years ago there were children even younger than me being killed over money. Most of the older slaves are slaves who have survived the harsh conditions from a young age. Once you are a slave you can’t ever be free again. Those young children will be working forever. They won’t have a life. Looking back on it, I have taken so many things for granted. A house, school, bed and food are all things slaves don’t receive. They will probably never have the chance to be a normal human being.”

“I am disgusted by the slave owners. It is disgusting that some people have the mindset that they are more important than other people; that some people are unequal to them.”

“I am just so angry and upset that people can be so cruel towards other humans. They don’t have the decency to treat them right. People are more focused on money than morals and doing the right thing. I’m just ashamed that parts of our society has come to this. I was very upset that young children will not have a real life or good future, but will have to endure the trauma. I think we need to help make a change and we all can try. This just made me really thankful for my freedom.”

“I am so disappointed. I can’t believe no one is doing something about this. If I were those girls I would be scared and alone.”

“I don’t understand how this is even possible to happen in such open areas. Why can’t people stop slavery? I feel so stupid and helpless because I can’t do anything to help stop it, because we don’t even know when or where it is going on.”

“I can’t believe that slavery still exists. I had no idea until today. No one should be treated the way those people are. People who have slaves are wasting so many lives. I hope that one day slavery wouldn’t exist. I feel so bad for the people who can’t even drink fresh water. I take so much for granted.”

“I think that we should end slavery because it is not fair that they have to do physical labor their whole lives without getting paid and having no education. They should get the same chances that we get like to go to school and get a job.”

“Not am I just angry, I am furious. This is unfair that this is happening to these people. Why are we not freeing them? Why are we not giving them the life that every human deserves? Why do so many people sit back and not even think about this? People should stop worrying about money and actually focus on the real problems in this world.”

“I think that it’s really depressing that an issue that involves so many people, not as many people know it’s going on. I think it’s unfair that some people are free their entire lives and some are trapped forever in a never-ending cycle, never to escape and waiting for someone to come help. Some people never have happy endings.”

“I think that I am so selfish for being sad because these people have no clue that there is even a life out there for them. That’s their life…working. They don’t even know they are slaves, they think it is normal because they have no way to know. They don’t deserve that.”

“A crushing feeling. One that reminds you that it was there every time you breath. There is no way to explain it, but I suppose it is guilt. I feel guilty because I know with every breath I take, someone that I never met is taking their last because we, as a society, didn’t do enough.”

“The world is crazy it is all about money and politics. But no one pays attention to the people who need it most.”

“The people who are enslaved are trapped and can’t escape, and their lives are ruined. It’s scary to think about not having any possible chance of a bright future when we are making a big deal about our high school classes.”

“I can’t believe that these things happen to innocent people. I feel ashamed at our world and what people do. Slavery is absolutely the worst thing ever. Now I think what if that was me? I can never stand to do that.”


Comments and feedback welcome!