My ninth grade English students are unique individuals that come from diverse backgrounds. As a low-income, high poverty urban school, my students arrive at our school from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We have students who have come from approximately 30 different countries and speak at least 23 separate languages. They bring with them their own personalities, histories, and interests that help make our classroom community an energetic place. While my students face multitudes of hardships, their resiliency is inspiring and motivates me to work hard for them. Whether it is through more materials, unique learning experiences, or simple supports, my goal is to do whatever I can to support them.
What makes these students so amazing is their positive attitudes, motivation to improve, and the ability to use their differences as ways to teach each other.
Every year we work together towards group and individual goals to develop ourselves as better readers, writers, students, and humans. On paper, my job as their teacher is to provide them with the literary skills they need to be successful in our world, but I find that through our journey together it grows into so much more.
My students are always looking for new books to read and discuss! Each day we start our class with our own Accountable Independent Reading books. These books are chosen by my students themselves and are used as companions with our regular lessons and central text in class. For many students, this is a way to welcome them into the classroom and allow them to learn the content of the course by reading something they want to read! However, if there aren't books that interest them, it can create a barrier for many students and cause them to not want to come to class. This is why we need more books!
All of these books were selected by my students!
Mystery books, collections of poetry, and books that relate to their own life experiences are always being requested in class! My students spent time compiling a list of books they had heard about, seen others read, or found through a quick internet search. My hope is that by expanding our library with these books, it will not only create an opportunity for disengaged students to find an entry point into our class, but will also be a place to build a deeper relationship from teacher to student and peer to peer.
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