The majority of our fabulous fourth graders (98%) come from bilingual households and receive free or reduced-price lunch. Many of these children have responsibilities at home that make it difficult for them to function at one hundred percent when they come to school (making dinner, caring for younger siblings because parents are at work, etc.) They take what they have, however, and make the most of it. They may not be able to provide pencils or paper, but they are never without a smile.
An aquarium in the classroom will provide my students with multiple learning opportunities. It will also instill curiosity and interest to increase their academic performance. Observing the aquatic environment will also provide a calming and peaceful refuge during stressful times. We've had so many roadblocks this year, so my students ill benefit from any opportunity to relax and ease their stress. They will keep a log of their observations, check the temperature and p.h. of the water daily as well as learn how to care for the marine life. My students will be taught responsibility by maintaining the aquarium in the classroom, and I am sure that it will lead to more teachable moments, research, and writing opportunities.
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