I teach 5th grade ELA in a Title I school in Midvale, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City. Many of my students have hardworking parents who work long hours, and they often talk about how much they would love to spend more time with their parents or how they wish their parents didn't have to worry about money. They often take care of their younger siblings and do not have a lot of time outside of school to dedicate to homework and studying.
My students show up every day incredibly excited to learn about literature and writing despite the challenges they face outside of school.
Because I cannot change their home situations, I attempt to give my students as much direct instruction as I can during the school day. The majority of my students do not have access to a computer at home, so they complete all of their Google Classroom assignments and homework in class.
Because my school serves a large homeless population, students are often coming and going each month, and the number of students has fluctuated between 45-50 throughout this current academic year.
Working in a low-income public school, I can't change my class sizes or the amount of time in my day, but I can use technology to meet students where they are. Thankfully, my school has a 1-to-1 Chromebook program.
Because my students have very different needs, a flipped-classroom model allows my students to work at their own pace and develop crucial study skills that will prepare them for middle school.
My students use Chromebooks to complete the majority of their classwork. I currently work with over 50 students, and classroom headphones for individual work need to be an over-the-ear style so that two students can share a pair of headphones.
Personal headphones would allow my students to work without distraction and hear text read aloud. The majority of my students are English Learners, and listening to text helps them complete tasks that would otherwise appear too daunting at first. Many of my new English Learners can listen to and speak English much better than they are able to read it.
My students also are learning to code through Code.org and Google CS courses, and the verbal instructions and prompts are vital components of the lessons.
Currently, I work with small groups at a table in the back of the room to address the individual needs of my students, but it is difficult to hear over the sound of the Chromebook speakers. I want all my students to have the chance to be successful, both in individual and small group work, and personal headphones would give my students a quiet and productive working environment. I hope to use the headphones this year and for many years to come. Thank you!
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