I currently teach at a high needs public middle school in Bronx that serves recently arrived immigrant students who are learning English. We are a new school with a vision for an equitable and socially just learning environment. We welcome students from South and Central America as well as Africa. Many of them struggle with issues related to poverty, family separation, and immigration status. My seventh grade students are hard working and eager learners with diverse interests and strengths and they deserve the high quality education that their parents were seeking when they immigrated here.
Our current classroom has dysfunctional, poorly designed and bulky desks that make it impossible for students to work collaboratively. With 30 large desks the room is crowded and it's difficult for the teacher to move through the room to help students while they work. Some students currently don't have a clear view of the teacher and the board, and they can't move around freely during interactive classroom activities. We want to re-imagine and redesign our work space to better support our diverse students' needs and strengths. With multiple floor and table areas, students will be able to work in groups and move around to learning stations comfortably. More group work will help our struggling students achieve academically and allow me to conference with student groups more easily. Different seating options will help my students with special needs move freely to maintain focus while not disrupting the class. Bins will provide storage for floor pillows and clipboards so that the space can stay organized and functional.
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