I work with ESL 6th graders in a poor socioeconomic neighborhood in the South Bronx. Many of my students are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Their families have made enormous sacrifices for their family to bring them here to the United States.
My students are amazing.
They show such great resilience. They choose not to be products of their environment. Many of them start with a negative attitude toward school, but once they see the love and compassion inside the room, they are changed forever.
Sometimes a hot meal and a good night's sleep are not accessible for everyone. I have a group of students who come before me every day with multiple obstacles that should hinder their learning. But it does not. Just like I give my students 100% every day, they do the same in return. We end our school day with DEAR time. The children love this time to sit quietly and read. Either they read independently or we read as a group. Lately, I have been finding that they want an alternative place to sit beside their desk. They tell me that after the long day, the desk is not comfortable. The students do not always have a comfortable place in their home to sit and read enjoyably. I would love to give them the opportunity to just be comfortable and be a child who loves to read. With flexible seating, I can create a safe, special place for them to focus on their learning before going home. I have a perfect place in my classroom to place the rug with the soft seats and pillows. The children can also use this space for meditation or quiet time. I sometime have children come up to the classroom during lunch to put their head down and take a rest. This space would then also have a dual purpose. I know the children will love it.
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