It is almost 80 degrees in our class and that is in January! Imagine what it will feel like come June. In this very warm classroom, high school special education students are studying English and reading. These inner-city students come from low-income families--the whole school gets free breakfast and lunch. We are a comprehensive high school that is trying to change the community's feeling of apathy toward education. Our biggest desire is for these students to go to AND graduate from college.
As I thought about all of the things we need, I honestly felt a little silly asking for fans, but I think that is our greatest need on a daily basis. Did you know that researchers Rita and Kenneth Dunn have found that the temperature of a classroom affects students' concentration? My students often complain that the heat makes them sleepy and fuzzy brained. Our 6-story building doesn't have individual controls for heat. So, having the heat high enough for most classrooms leaves our room sweltering. In warm months, we don't get any relief up here on the fifth floor. For safety, the windows only open 6 inches and are grated. We would love a cool breeze! The fan I purchased has worn out--it no longer rotates and has acquired a loud click, which drives me and my students crazy!
I am requesting 3 standing, rotating fans for our classroom. We have an exciting new reading program focused around small-group rotation through 3 centers (guided reading, writing, and computer based reading and vocabulary). Right now 2 groups are always miserably hot. With 3 fans, everyone could be comfortable while they are learning. These students are well below grade level in reading and need to work incredibly hard to make progress. Fans would take away one obstacle to their learning.
I wish you could have seen their faces when I told my 8th period students that I was writing this proposal. The idea that people would buy fans so they could focus on their learning, and not the heat, flabbergasted them. As learning disabled students, they often feel like life has been unfair to them. They talk about schools they see on TV as "real schools" because they have so much that we don't have. You have the chance not only to give them an environment that is conducive to learning, but also to show them that people care and want them to succeed.
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