I am a current second grade teacher in a city school district with students that have goals in academics, however have limited resources in grasping them. Families in our community typically struggle to make ends meet. Seventy-nine percent of our students receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch plans daily, which is configured based on income.
In the past years, I have worked with many students coming from environments of lower socio-economic status which is often due to limited prior knowledge and accessibility to resources.
These students struggle with learning the way other students in the classroom may learn. Visual and hands-on materials can assist in academic improvement and in forming connections. The use of videos can also encourage the building of vocabulary and about topics they have limited knowledge about due to not having opportunities to experience them.
Along with students of a lower socio-economic environments, I also work regularly with students of increased academic needs. These students can be on specialized plans that are set to meet their academic needs (IEPs). These students usually require special needs and with that, many times the information taught in the classroom needs to be introduced differently.
There are many standards in second grade that as a teacher must be incorporated in instructional opportunities. The one specifically for these materials is that of understanding living things once that once lived on Earth may have disappeared due to their basic needs no longer met. These could be physical traits of the environment that have made it difficult to exist.
The use of fossils shows physical traces of living things and how they can be preserved over time in materials.
When students examine fossils students can see how living things look similar to plants and animals alive today while other fossils can be seen to look differently. It is important for students to understand what it means for living things to become "extinct" and also understand what it mean when an ecosystem changes can impact living things. Sometimes living things will change (or adapt) with the changes in the ecosystem. This is also part of our standards.
Just recently I taught this standard to my students and they were very excited to learn about our environment and living things familiar and unfamiliar to them. Due to my students having limited prior knowledge, it was very important to show them the one sample I had of a fossil, since many of them have never seen one up close or had an opportunity to visit a museum that could contain multiple versions on ones.
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