Our high school serves over 380 students who speak more than 32 languages and come from 33 countries as immigrants and refugees. 100% of our students are English language learners, all of whom immigrated to the U.S. during the last four years. Many students live in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Oakland, despite having escaped war or poverty in their home countries. No student is anonymous here, and the model supports personalization, growth, and success for each student. They bring with them stories and experiences of their home countries: Guatemala, Eritrea, Yemen, Afghanistan, Honduras, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, China, to name a few. My students are caring, resilient, and determined.
The 11th Grade Academic Literacy class is a safe space for immigrant and refugee students to learn how to read and grow as readers and critical thinkers.
Many have interrupted formal education, and reading proficiencies range from kindergarten to high school levels. Students learn basic reading strategies and learn from each other in groups. This is a space on campus that allows them to challenge themselves to grow as readers and thinkers.
Because of the diverse learners in my classroom, I need different types of seating and learning spaces to engage everyone in various sized groups. In my class, students rotate through learning stations, where they work with smaller groups at their reading level to support students' development in fluency, phonics and comprehension. Students need to be able to move through the classroom easily, which requires flexible seating and mobile pieces in the different stations throughout the room.
The best learning occurs when students feel comfortable and safe in a classroom.
In order for me to realize this for my students, I need flexible seating, including stools and cushions, lamps to create a calm environment, and a mobile whiteboard for instruction. With this furniture, students will be able to feel at ease in the classroom, and consequently maximize their learning potential.
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