My students are amazing and I'm not just saying that because I love them so much! These students come from lower socio-economic households. Many are living with extended family members, friends or blended families, often having to share beds, clothing and lacking basic needs. However, despite these circumstances, they are still excited to come to school everyday, ready to learn new things.
When my students walk through my classroom door, they leave the reality of their underprivileged lives and enter an environment full of opportunity, experiences and hope.
Through the print-rich environment, the students get to view life and fantasy through the eyes of book characters. The students are accepted by each other based on the simple fact that they are wanted and needed in our class.
Some of my students don't have a single age-appropriate or reading-level appropriate book at their home. DonorsChoose.org offers the chance for my students to experience more adventures, learn more knowledge and help to extend their love of reading.
Our school utilizes PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) to encourage creating and maintaining a loving, caring and supportive atmosphere among staff and students. Some of our students have difficulty interacting with their peers; there are several groups that meet with our guidance intern and/or the school psychologist for social skills groups. Having a Buddy Bench on the playground will allow students to identify other students who are in need of a friend (either to talk to or play with). A lonely student would sit at the Buddy Bench and any other student who notices a student there, would go over and ask him or her to join in a game or just have a conversation.
Many of the students at our school are transient, which makes it very difficult to form close friendships; and if you are new to a school, you don't know a single person.
A Buddy Bench would encourage a sense of community and empathy for other students who may be struggling to find a friend. Having a sense of belonging and bonding benefits the student in need, as well as the student who is being a "buddy" and offering to play with the lonely student. This would help to build a sense of acceptance and gratitude in an otherwise unhappy student, which creates an overall sense of "family" and "belonging" within our school.
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