Life was already challenging for my students before a global pandemic uprooted everything. I couldn't imagine being responsible for paying rent or supporting my family while in high school. Or completing high school in my home country only to be placed back in ninth grade when I arrive in a new country that I may or may not have chosen to come to. Or sitting in classes not taught in my native language and being expected to perform well on standardized tests that are difficult enough for native English speakers. These challenges have only been exacerbated in the last three school years.
But somehow this is what our students do every day: they find a way to prioritize their education.
I work in a Title 1 school in a high poverty neighborhood in Boston that serves 100% English Language Learners from mostly low income families. Students all qualify for free/reduced school meals, which might be the only nutrition they receive. Many families rely on their children's income to pay bills, so affording school supplies can be a big pinch. Our students and their families have many needs, and our school community goes above the call of duty to meet them.
After months of learning on a screen, students will have the chance to explore geometry concepts in a fun, creative, hands-on way with these magnetic tiles. The tiles will be used during multiple units to touch on grade-level learning standards involving angles, transformations, similarity and congruence, special right triangles, polygons, 3-dimensional solids, and more. Not only will students have a chance to learn as they build with their own hands, but they will also get to see that math can be beautiful.
I can't wait to see what joyful creations my students will build as they engage more deeply in their learning.
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