It sounds cliche to say I have the best students, so I will say I bring out the best in my students. That sounds super conceited, but it's true. I work in the poorest of the poor areas of town on purpose. They are already facing adult problems and hardly ever have time to just be a kid. In my classroom, I allow them to be kids. I try to make my classroom as magical as possible so that they have something to look forward to in their day.
The best thing about teaching at the school I teach at is when you have student come to you and tell you they beat the odds.
They got accepted to college. They got a job. They fought against their parents, their significant other, a family member, the system in order to have a better life, When a student walks in excited to talk about what we are doing in class, helps out another student or leaves you a note saying they actually enjoy reading now, it's all worth it.
I so don't change lives. My students change my life every single day. They are the real heroes.
Kids learn best when they can relate to characters in books. So many students have shown that students learn empathy and compassion through novels. Students also learn best when they have a say in what they are learning and what they are reading. I want to do something a little crazy this upcoming year and let students have a choice in what they read (and of course meet the Common Core Standards while doing it). I need a library of diverse books to do it. This is part I of the library I want to build. My students will work in groups of 5 to read these novels, discuss them and do projects with them.
Some of my students have never read a book with a character in it who looks like them or who they can relate to and they need that connection in their lives.
They need to read about kids who are facing the same struggles they are: to know there is hope, to empower them to get help if they need and to realize they aren't so alone after all. By enabling this book club through donations, you are enabling students to find themselves in literature.
The books I would like to use are:
Openly Straight by Bill Koenigsberg
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Carry on by Rainbow Rowell
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult
Checked by Cynthia Kadohata
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Once Upon a Dream by Liz Bramwell
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
I think this books will resonate with my students, reflect life and create passionate readers.
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