When asked how many children do I have, I always answer with the number of students in my class. This year, it's 25. I have 25 little Firsties who have big dreams. Some dream of becoming future vets, teachers, soldiers, police officers, or artists. Others dream of mom coming to visit them, dad finding a job, or living in a stable home. I teach at a Title 1 school in a low-SES community where 78% of our population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch, and many of our students come from diverse family dynamics.
Our families struggle with single-parent or other caregiver households; working multiple jobs to put food on the table; and even homelessness.
When adults are struggling to make ends meet at home, very little time is left in making sure their children practice the skills needed to be successful in school. For the 80% of my students who are English Language Learners, learning to read and write is even more of a challenge. It is crucial that I provide my students with ample opportunities in the classroom to explore and learn the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in school and beyond.
Many of my students come to school rarely having had any experience with art materials other than crayons. Even then, few students have 'colors' to use at home, so the only chance they have to use art materials is at school. Unfortunately, acquiring art supplies and different kinds of media is limited at our school. It is not uncommon to scrap hopeful art projects with a Plan B, resorting once again to pencil and crayon on paper. Having other materials available for students to use, like oil pastels, markers, and watercolor paints, will open up many more opportunities for expression for my Firsties.
Your donation of a variety of art supplies will provide students with opportunities for creativity and critical thinking.
Not all students learn the same way, so it is crucial to have art in our classroom in order to reach more of my learners. Varied art supplies will provide students with more choice in how they wish to express themselves. Through art, students will be engaged in collaborative conversation, feedback, building classroom community, and learning responsibility. The art they create will also serve as a writing topic and/or opportunity for practicing public speaking skills in Show and Tell. Most importantly, these art supplies will give students a chance to be proud of their masterpiece and make their mark in the world!
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