The 23 kids in our room are some of the hardest working students I've taught in my 14 years of education. They come from several different countries and experiences. Our wonderful school is located on the east side of Austin in a community full of diversity, along with constant change and lack of resources. What makes my students special is they come from all walks of life, including war torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. They strive to do their best despite not having some basic needs met such as food, dental care and at times, a uniform. Our school, teachers and community help meet these needs. Our classroom is full of hope and through education they can have the opportunity for a better life. As a teacher, I have purchased more than a few hundred dollars worth of binders, markers, spirals, rugs, lamps, and instructional/ motivational posters for the classroom. I’m hoping not to spend more.
In this 5th grade classroom 23 students work diligently to understand how to multiply and divide decimals, find an author's purpose in a text, practice writing complete sentences and observe how electric circuits work. The use of clipboards allows them to be mobile when taking notes during classroom gallery walks, experiments and when collaborating in small groups. Being mobile allows my students to have access to a more diverse way to take notes and it contributes to a healthier lifestyle. They are a diverse group of students however they have one thing in common.
The students all come from a predominantly low-income community.
This means that most of their families cannot afford some or all of the school supplies such as clipboards. In addition, the students in our classroom lack some basic board and card games, such as Battle Ship and Scrabble. Board games help students communicate and build relationships with their peers. During recess, students have a play structure that is geared towards kids kindergarten to 5th grade. It is a well built, however, 5th graders have been using this same structure for the last 4 years. Many of our students do not get the freedom to play soccer and basketball in a league therefore, this might be the only time they can play soccer or basketball. I would like for the students to have this opportunity for exercise and team building.
As of today we have one electric pencil sharpener that I purchased at Office Depot. When it is time to take notes, students spend time looking for their pencil sharpener or asking a friend to borrow one.
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