Every day my students come to school with a huge smile and a great big hug for me. In spite of all the challenges they confront on a daily basis, they are always ready to learn. The school is located in a low-income neighborhood where 90% of the students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch.
In addition to English and Spanish, 24 other languages are spoken at this school.
These children are growing in a multicultural world! STEAM materials make learning accessible to all regardless of their language, background or academic level.
Another challenge for the kids is that many of their parents work two to three jobs and few have a high school education. They are hard-pressed to help their kids past 2nd or 3rd grade. Yet, what they most want is for their children is to succeed!
This year I am fortunate enough to be working with first graders. Last year kindergarteners were my charge and a few years ago I was in third grade. With each move comes the need for different grade-level materials. I am hoping to strengthen each component of STEAM by asking for materials that will help me achieve this goal.
In my class you only fail when you don't try.
All my current and previous students know that, "The important thing is that you try." With this in mind, I am requesting things such as Magna Tiles and the Create-A-Path Magnetic Center which allows for exploration, learning, and risk-taking. When the students use the Magnetic Center they will be creating mazes, analyzing their creations and comparing their creations with others. Thus, they will be using their problem solving skills both individually and while collaborating with their classmates. What a great way to incorporate technology, math, and speaking and listening!
I am also attempting to create a better organized class by using color-cooordinated pocket charts which will help with the flow during independent learning centers.
With these new materials, the students will be willing to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone and their academic achievement will increase across all subjects.
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