Amy Perkins’ lesson plan "Uprooted: How Exile, Community, and Trauma Shape Cultural Identity" won First Place in a national-level competition organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), a National Resource Center (NRC) at the University of Arizona. The annual competition in Middle East-related lesson plans is open to teachers of all grade levels (K-12) and content areas. Perkins, who teaches AP World History and U.S. History at Lakeshore High School in Stevensville, Michigan, created the lesson plan during her participation in the 2019-2020 MENA-SEA Teacher Program, a ten-month collaboration between the NRCs of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies at U-M. Funded by Title VI grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the program trains a cohort of Grade 6-12 educators in deepening their understanding and appreciation of religious and cultural diversity in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and of Southeast Asia (SEA). Perkins’ lesson invites students to conduct a comparative study of Palestinian and Native American experiences.
Her second lesson plan produced in the program, “Sacred Sites, Evolving Spaces,” leads high school students in exploring ancient structures in the Abrahamic tradition as guideposts for charting historical developments and current realities. Both lesson plans will be shared on CMES’ website with fellow educators across the U.S. and the world. (They have been published as well on CMENAS’ and CSEAS’ websites.) Perkins will receive an honorarium and books for her classrooms.
I'm thrilled to read this announcement and equally thrilled to know that my [lessons] may be of use to teachers throughout the country, replied Perkins to the notification of the award. So many of us are working in isolation, trying desperately to make our content relevant and meaningful to our students while also demonstrating compassion for their emotional well-being. She continued, I'll be sure to share the good news with my MENA-SEA Teacher Program Coordinator, Rima Hassouneh. Her program and her personal insights inspired much of the content included in both lessons.