My students love to learn even though some are worried about their lives outside of school. Many have day-to-day home life with parents that are unable to meet their basic needs including sick family members, drug-addicted family members, joblessness and one-parent homes. Some students are in foster care or are being raised by other family members, some are even homeless. I teach at a Title I school where the student population is at a high poverty level. There is a mix of African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian; my students range from gifted to learning disabled to autistic.
Despite the hardships faced outside of school, they come into class and truly try to do their best every day.
Teaching these children is rewarding and heartwarming. My students must learn social skills as well as academics. While I'm molding these children into problem solvers, readers and mathematicians they have also molded me into a better teacher. Their sweet notes and daily hugs make my job very enjoyable so I want to give them a gift of comfort in return.
The Rug - Many of my students find sitting on a cold, hard floor uncomfortable and downright dirty! Some sit on their jackets or a blanket that gets dirty easily. Having a rug for them to move to quickly will not only be cleaner but help them get on task sooner.
Sitting on a cold, hard floor is distracting and uncomfortable.
Some students will ask to stay at their own desk. When the choice is made to not sit on the floor, staying in their seat, they lose crucial collaboration time that may help them overcome a weakness. This choice does not allow them the needed social, collaborative growth with their classmates if they are working independently at desks.
Having a comfortable rug in the classroom will allow my students to learn together on the floor. Students in Reading, Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies will all benefit from this gift. Improving their concentration, social skills, time-on-task, and sharing of ideas and learning will all begin with the gift of a simple rug!
The Easel - My students also need a place to support and “anchor” their learning. While they’re sitting on the rug during a lesson their ideas are shared and grow like crazy! One shared idea between partners can stimulate more thinking and before you know you know it even the reluctant children are sharing. This helps them remember the lesson!
Anchor charts build literacy by making thinking visible.
An easel with chart paper helps organize all this information and when left as a display, gives them an accessible way to make connections to the lesson and remember key points. Children learn in four ways; visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. This will help all learners during and after a lesson.
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