I teach 8th grade Intensive Reading and AVID at a Title 1 school in Polk County, FL where we have a diverse group of students who are economically disadvantaged, migrant, and/or speak a language other than English.
My students have the odds stacked against them, but in my classroom we have become a family that supports one another and encourages stepping outside of our comfort zones.
These are students who want to go to college and have the drive to do so. I am merely their facilitator. Part of the AVID program is to target those students who are very likely going to be the first of their families to graduate high school and go to college.
My AVID Research course has students engaged in weekly tutorial groups. During this time students bring problems from their other academic classes and present them to their groups. As a whole, the groups engage and brainstorm how to address the misunderstandings of the problem.
Whiteboards are essential to this collaborative effort.
Currently, we have no whiteboards. Student groups need to be able to write down their points of confusion, list out the tools they have, and then brainstorm how to use them effectively. Having a large whiteboard will allow my students to visualize the road map to solving their problems.
In high school and beyond, study groups are crucial for understanding material that was taught. I would like to engage my students in this same process so that they are prepared to advocate for themselves in the future. These whiteboards will transform the collaborative group work in my classroom space!
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