Yes, the students at my school represent historically underserved groups; ninety-two percent are socioeconomically disadvantaged and for more than half, English is not their first language. I’m telling you this because these statistics show that our students are truly inspiring! While speaking another language at home and representing diverse populations is on the one hand a precious gift, it also presents daily challenges for the our students. Yet, despite this, the students show up each day, ready to learn. It is our responsibility to provide them a safe place to learn, grow, problem-solve and thrive.
The thing is, students are innately and intensely curious about the world in which they live.
They are pioneers and explorers, ready to discover new things. They want to know about who they are and why they are. They want to get lost in a book and journey to new places, whether it’s another country, a civil rights protest or Hogwart’s. These learning experiences are extremely empowering. Providing them with these tools and opportunities is also simply a matter of equity. Our students don’t just deserve these educational experiences, it is their right as children.
Over the last several years, and through the donations of so many generous people, I have been able to build an extensive classroom library for the 5th graders who joyfully fill my classroom each year. Building this library with engaging, relevant, appropriately leveled books for my students has been an exciting journey. But as the library grows, I realized I need a better way to catalog the books we have in the library. I also have been working on an efficient library checkout system for the students to use. Part of this project will allow for just that. With a classroom iPod setup in the library, and using an app designed for just this purpose, students will be able to check in and out each book that they read.
This will also serve as a helpful way for me to see the different books students are choosing and reading throughout the week so that I can then lead them to more books that they might be interested in reading.
I am also requesting a class set of take-home book bag, one for each student. They are sturdy and should last several years. Students will take their classroom library books home in these book bags each day, and bring them back to the classroom each morning. It is critical that students are reading at home daily, and books that they are excited about. These book bags will be a safe place for students to store their books each day, and I hope too, will help them remember to bring them back and forth each day!
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