Our school lies in the heart of Kansas City. Nearby is the Jewish Vocational Services. They bring in and place refugee families who are fleeing oppression and war. Many of our students come out of theses situations. These children battle social, emotional and cultural boundaries in their every day learning. Some of our students are born and raised in Kansas City Missouri and we are learning to bridge racial boundaries. Our entire student population qualifies for free lunch and breakfast, but still our students are frequently hungry.
My job is to teach students in a manner that allows their personalities to thrive, their culture to be maintained, and my expectations to stay high.
Many students start becoming ashamed of their home language and they quit speaking it. I try to be an advocate for them to maintain a diverse mind and heart so they can remain open to the world. Some days are spent feeding their physical and emotional needs before even sharpening our pencils. We work together to find each students' strengths, building upon those as we learn together.
Each item I have requested will specifically serve a variety of purposes. I'm requesting the flexible seating chairs and table because of the variety of group work and discussions I have my students do. We often break into groups to "Solve and Share" for mathematical problems, break out into discussion to defend or go against a discussion topic, or we have group projects for all the subject areas. Whatever the case, this seating would be an incredible opportunity for students to break out and have an extra meeting area to work.
The sensory tubs and kinetic sand sets will serve a multitude of purposes.
It will allow some of our trauma sensitive students the space and sensory experience to help slow down their frustrations and bring them in to a more peaceful setting. The sand has made a huge impact on my students, so we are requesting more to meet all of our students individual needs.
Lastly, the sensory tubs are what I am most excited about. Many times in my teaching a new student will walk in having zero capability to communicate with us. Some may know one word or a phrase, but sometimes it is difficult to figure out how we can meet their needs best. These tubs will give us the opportunity to engage them in the alphabet, numbers, and geometry shapes. We can have them word search, put numbers together for learning or give them a place to escape their new culture shock. This will also allow for students who reach a frustration point to simply grab a bucket, find some geometric shapes, or put words together from the letters, all while calming themselves with their sense of touch.
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