My students are as diverse as New York City in race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and ability. Our school demographics are sixty-two percent Hispanic, twenty-eight percent black, five percent Asian and three percent white, with over 85% of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. My students come to school every day from all five boroughs with various needs, persevering against all the challenges life has thrown at them.
I have students who come to school with so little and students coming to school without breakfast and without backpacks.
Some cannot live at home with their parents and some do not even have a place to call home. Our students deal with many challenges including mental health issues, gun violence, and pregnancies. I want to be able to use my time with my students to provide them all with the educational opportunities they deserve.
Often when we think about school, we think about academics - the classes, exams, and projects that you had to do for class. But one aspect that sometimes is not thought of as much is the social-emotional learning that our students do. Students spend an inordinate amount of time at school, and that time can allow students to build relationships, make friends, and grow bonds that will surpass their time in high school.
Even though students might spend a lot of time in the same building together, that does not mean that they know or talk to their peers.
We want to find ways to bring students together in fun and meaningful ways. One of those ways is to play games with one another. By playing games, students work on building communication skills and empathy in ways that no classroom lesson can - because you are having fun at the same time! We have picked a couple of card and board games that students can quickly pick up and play with one another. The hope is that this will help foster community and relationships between students in all grades so we can help make every student feel welcome and a part of a bigger community.
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