"YOU WANT US TO DO WHAT?"! These are 3rd graders who live in a high-poverty/high need community. I am dedicated to pushing them beyond their limits. It is now time to kick it up a knotch!! Through this project they will not doubt themselves again!
With some of the lowest scores in ILLINOIS, this school was slated to be closed. After completing a program that targets schools such as these, I welcomed the challenge. Last year was my first year at the school and I taught 2nd grade. This year I have the same kids for 3rd grade. I have uncovered an overwhelming amount of deficiencies.
The problem is that my students have been allowed to fly under the radar for so long they were barely trying. For those who did try, their solution was to look at their neighbor's paper or do what their neighbors did. Since last year I started infusing a sense of individuality into each and every one of them. However, what I noticed is that they are still not quite as confident because they are still lacking some very important skills.
I think about them and their challenges every single day. As of late, I have identified a VERY SIMPLE TOOL, that I think will not only drive home individuality but also empower them and give me the necessary information to close the achievement gap.
"PRIVACY SHIELDS"!!!! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE NOW! Each student needs a privacy shield which is a partition that creates an instant, distraction-free environment for tests and quizzes.
Research shows that having students desks in groups to confer and explore provides for a much more powerful learning environment. But the caveat is that students often copy their neighbor's work and others are distracted by the mere movement or sound a groupmate may make.
As a teacher, when grading classwork, quizzes, and especially tests, privacy shields will allow me to hone in and identify each student's SPECIFIC defiency or areas of need. Then I am able to pull small groups and provide instruction/guidance tailored to the student's need. HOW POWERFUL!!!! Also, the student who can't concentrate because he knows or sees others looking at his paper can now concentrate and put 100% into his work. Having this data will allow me to pinpoint very much needed data on each student.
3rd grade is the first benchmark year for students. The shields will allow me to take the guessing out of the equation when determining if a student has reached a level of mastery at a particular skill.
YOU will make it possible for EACH STUDENT to achieve a level of confidence and individuality that they have NEVER KNOWN. I personally will entirely pour myself into this project! I have chills because I know that the use of the shields will allow me to identify their weaknesses and close the achievement gap. Students will begin to see their scores SOAR, and in return feel capable, empowered and most importantly in awe of their GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT as a life-long learner! These feelings and characteristics alone will begin to breed strong believers and over achievers who are against so many odds! Well, as a team I think we change the odds! I CANNOT WAIT!!!
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