Our school has approximately 1700 students, and over 75% receive free or reduced lunch. Our school is the most diverse traditional high school in our region, representing cultures from all around the world. Most of our students are immigrants, and the current political climate attacking immigrants has strained their collective mental health.
As the mural announces in 22 languages when you arrive, the library is the spot in the school where "all are welcome." The library is a safe space for my students, where they can read, do homework, visit with friends, and more.
But over my 7 years at my school, I've seen students in the library increasingly withdrawing into solitude through their personal technology.
Recently, we placed our limited selection of Legos on a table in the library for a week. I was thrilled to see two male students, who almost always choose to play video games individually whenever they visit the library, spend every morning and lunch hour that week at that table, building and designing next to each other. Just think how much more they could build and how many more students could get involved if I could offer them more Legos or new materials like Magnatiles to explore.
Through this project, I hope to expand and improve the creative and collaborative opportunities for students when they visit the library.
Similarly, when we placed a jigsaw puzzle on a library table, I saw different groups of students from all different grade levels whom I'd never seen interact before gather around the table, passing pieces back and forth to each other. To repeat the experience, we need more jigsaw puzzles.
And currently, students pick through our limited selection of games. What a joy it will be to offer them Uno without beat up, bent cards or Connect 4 without missing checkers and to introduce them to other games, from classics like Othello to new favorites like Exploding Kittens, too.
Thank you in advance for helping me inspire my students, in the safe surroundings of the library, to detach from their digital devices and re-engage with their world around them.
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Ms. Hersh.
DonorsChoose is the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Ms. Hersh and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.