"I want to run a homeless shelter." "I want to be a criminal defense lawyer." "I want to be a pediatrician." My students' passions constantly inspire me. As a group, they collectively have a deep desire to help.
These kids want to know about the world and become useful people within their communities.
Many of my students want to generate change, however, they lack some foundational literacies that directly impact their ability to achieve their goals.
Like many city schools, our students struggle with functioning below grade level, as well as other common complications of urban life in diverse communities. Though the school at large is equipped to combat some of these issues, for instance, qualifying for 100% free lunch, we're still striving to prepare our students for the best future possible. Reimagining possibility is a great first step. Now, we need to create a new reality for what urban students can achieve.
Having 24 teachers is better than one. If my students see learning as a collaborative process, they will be able to utilize one another as “knowledge boosters” and work to enhance their understanding organically through conversations with their peers. The supplies you help fund will create an environment where students work together to gain knowledge unreachable on their own.
Though students are engaged in challenging cognitive work as they collaborate, they often feel like they’re just talking.
Imagine two students working together to decipher a complex text. On their own, they might give up, or underperform. However, as the two students talk, they are able to fill in gaps in understanding with the knowledge presented by their partner, as well as emotionally support one another through the challenge of tackling the text. Talking, then, becomes much more than an exercise in presentation, or self-confidence—it is the foundation of knowledge acquisition.
Markers and paper for collaborative posters, binders for organizing group work, and pocket protectors for partner annotations create a snapshot of how your support will create moments for students to collaboratively learn.
Privileging student voice is critical if children are to develop beyond passive recipients of what the teacher says, and allows them instead, to create pathways into exploring their own intellectual curiosity. Now, going into my third year of teaching, and heavily influence by education theorists such as Lev Vygotsky and Paulo Freire, I want to center student talk as the root through which the rest of my classroom grows. I hope you can help.
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