Help me give my students a small-group option for flexible seating (a set of 4 Softscape cylinder ottoman cushions and reading rug) to revamp our Reading room environment, as well as 200 folders, bulk pencils, and electric sharpener.
My 8/9th grade Reading students (80% being English Language Learners (ELLs), including newcomers to the US) are bright learners with untold potential. They also have immense need for an environment that invites oral partner work (paired reading along with "structured student talk" to improve language skills), as well as basic school supplies so as to be functional. The majority come from situations involving poverty, and they qualify to be in this class because they're multiple grade levels behind in Reading. When they enter this Reading classroom, they really do want to see past those aspects and jump into the task at hand.
An environment conducive to our necessary paired reading and partner work sends a mighty message that engagement is key and that reading together helps them develop pivotal skills as language learners.
These students respond rapidly and eagerly to any "special" activity or lesson created just for them. When they invest in a book *with* a partner or small group, there's a marked decrease in the incidence of abandoning books, and instead an exciting, positive difference in their measurable reading productivity, understanding, questions, laughter, and comprehension progress.
To radically alter this Reading classroom environment, I'm specifically requesting a collaborative seating option (set of 4 "Softscape" cylinder ottoman cushions and 1 reading rug) that together allow freedom in personal movement for our vital paired reading and speaking activities; additionally, I'm requesting basic school supplies (200 folders and bulk box of pencils -- key items which so many of them can't afford -- along with a sturdy electric sharpener). Altogether, this purchase will help facilitate a more flexible yet intensive structure in our partnered reading activities. Our daily lessons involve discussion (called "structured student talk" with "language frames" for improving oral fluency, reading comprehension, and writing). The larger project idea is to be able to document (from observations, reading track records, and students' self-assessment) a notable improvement in the individual/paired reading choice component of our course.
This age-appropriate, movable seating option and simple set of supplies for student use can concretely, physically address a way to diminish barriers to engagement -- thus making a positive difference in boosting partner participation amongst these struggling readers.
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