My students need 18 three-ring binders to organize their notes, classwork, and homework assignments.
Imagine being told you have a test the next day and realizing you have no notes from which to study.
My students are faced with countless obstacles.
My students come from inner-city homes in North Philadelphia where they witness poverty and violence too often. They study at a school that faces an ever diminishing education budget slashed by the city and the state. One fourth of the students in my school, and approximately one half of my personal students are English Language Learners (ELLs) and are new arrivals to the country. One of the greatest obstacles facing my students is that they have not been granted equality of opportunity. Many of my native-born students have received a poor education for much of their lives, and many of my ELL students have received interrupted schooling in their native countries. Therefore my students are largely behind grade level in their basic skills. Despite these obstacles, my students have big dreams. Their inner-strength is extraordinary, and with proper resources and of course with unrelenting motivation they will be able to realize their dreams.
One factor affecting my students' organizational skills is their lack of necessary resources allowing for such organization. Additionally, many of my students come from transient homes, and this transience follows them to the classroom. If students are used to having their personal belongings scattered among different places, they will be less likely to actively keep their class materials in one easy, accessible place.
I am requesting a binder for each student in my African American History classes. Each student will be required to keep the binder in an organized fashion consistent with the class. I myself will keep a master binder so that if students are absent, they can easily find what they missed. The binders will be kept in the classroom except for nights before a test. If a student takes a binder, they will be responsible for returning it and will be held accountable until it is.
As the famous maxim goes, "If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a night.
If you teach a man to fish he will eat for his life". The skills that these binders will teach to my students far surpass any piece of information they learn from a specific class. These binders will teach my students how to be students. After seeing how the organization translates to academic success, they will be able to transfer their organizational skills to other classes for the rest of high school and beyond.
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