I teach in a low income, high poverty area. Our school is located in an urban neighborhood in New York City where students live in apartment houses. 85% of our students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. The students are served breakfast, lunch and even an early dinner (for those students that stay for the after-school program). Many of our students come to school hungry and rely on the school meals for their daily source of nutrition.
There are 36 students, of different ethnic backgrounds and for many, this is their first school experience.
We have 10 students who do not speak English. The students speak Creole, Arabic, and Spanish. The students are African American, Haitian, Latino, Arabic, and Jamaican. For the majority of the students, this is their first educational experience. Many of them have not heard stories being read aloud. Many students do not have educational toys, such as blocks, and LEGO blocks at home.
The students come to my classroom to a place where they are comfortable: socially and emotionally. A place where they learn.
The Pre k students are naturally curious learners. The students will be able to observe ants in The Giant Ant Farm. They will watch them lay eggs and make burrows in the sand. They will be able to compare the stages of insect growth when using the Lady Bug Land habitat and the Painted Lady Butterfly Larvae. The students will use the Incredible Creature Set- Lifecycle of a Lady Bug to look at enlarged plastic model of the insects to study and learn about the elements of an insect.
The hands-on experience of observing of insects change through different stages of their life cycle is a meaningful academic experience.
These young students are always exploring the world around them. While in the garden, they are always digging in the ground and looking for worms. Hands-on science observation and exploration is the most innovative learning. The love of learning will begin through the students’ natural curiosity. It will lead to deeper understanding and high order thinking questions. This endeavor will continue by having the students record what they see. The students will draw and begin to write, because of the excitement around science. The students will paint and use the Finger Paint Paper to express their ideas.
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