My students are incredibly resilient and optimistic. They come to school each day with a smile and a deep desire to learn, succeed, and have fun. They crave laughter and games and they challenge me every day to find ways to make English engaging. They thrive in competitions and problem solving that pushes them intellectually. I love watching them collaborate within groups to analyze a text or create an argument. People always scoff when I say I work in middle school and assume the kids are so mean to each other. I'm always pleased to correct them because my kids truly love being with each other, and the vast majority of them strive to be kind.
The greatest impact COVID-19 had in my community was certainly the loss of that social interaction.
Since we've returned, I have seen increased deficits in social skills, though their desire to be with each other and interact is stronger than ever before. They have the biggest hearts and a huge desire to connect with each other and to understand their place in the world. Their hunger for growth and connection inspires me daily.
The books funded by this project will be used to facilitate in-class book clubs. Socializing their independent reading will renew motivation and engagement. I chose books I believe will help open their hearts to the world and to people and experiences different from their own. At this age, it's so difficult for them to see outside themselves.
The collaborative nature of book clubs will help students engage in healthy connections and deeper conversations.
They're starving for relationships, but they seem terrified to show any vulnerability. Literature can be the bridge.
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