Our class motto is "It's okay to not know, but it's not okay to not try." I tell them daily that there are only two things I require from them - respect and effort.
My students are primarily from low income families.
They come from broken homes, foster homes, adoptive homes, and traditional homes. Some have moved from school to school, some have been here since K4. I have students who read on a first grade level, and students who read on a fifth grade level.
We use interactive notebooks in most subjects, but primarily math. Interactive notebooks allow teacher input on the right side of the page (notes that students take, or glued in notes provided by the teacher) and student output on the left hand side. Student output allows the student to apply what they have learned in a way that they understand, whether it's drawn, written, or both. Giving them the freedom to explain a concept in their way leads to greater understanding.
During writing, we begin our brainstorming with a picture. Drawing first allows my students to write more descriptive sentences about what they've just drawn.
The biggest behavior incentive for my kids is DRAWING! Using intricate doodle patterns (which promote focus and paying attention to detail) or free drawing as a reward is extremely successful!
Students need basic materials to learn.
As teachers, we try to find the way our kids learn, and meet them on their level. With a classroom full of creative thinkers, we've had better grades, more focus, and more enthusiasm about learning when we can color and glue and create. Our learning becomes more of our own, and these basic materials are crucial for my kids to experience success!
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