To teach in a Title I school in the Second Ward is a tremendous challenge, but to truly LEARN in “el Segundo Barrio” can be a saving grace.
My high school students live in a socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhood that is moments away from the US-Mexico border. As first or second generation US citizens, the majority of my students are English Language Learners (ELLs) who are struggling to master the language, gain their core subject skills, and pass the (dreaded) state exams to earn their high school diplomas. Without significant, meaningful interventions and support, reaching these goals has proven to be a daunting task for the students.
As an Algebra I teacher, I assume the responsibility of ensuring that my students have a solid foundation of number sense, problem solving skills, and reasoning that will support them through high school and eventually college level math courses. In addition, I must provide scaffolding for students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and ensure that all students are prepared for state exams. Not to mention that I have an obligation to prepare my students as best as possible with “21st century skills,” including critical thinking and communication.
Last year, we shared ONE copy of "What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?", a math myth about the Greek mathematician Pythagoras of Samos. Starting the study of the Pythagorean Theorem with this book was a great departure from another otherwise very procedural formula. As an illustrated children’s book, it was less intimidating for my ELLs to read aloud and it sparked discussions about the history, proof, and practical use of the very famous equation. At the end of the year, when it was time to conduct research projects everyone want to chose Pythagoras or the Pythagorean Theorem because they had already become so comfortable with the topic!
By supporting this simple project of supplying one class set of books, you are providing 100+ freshman students with the opportunity to dig deeper into the world of math – the history and the people who created what we still study and use in modern times!
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