At our high-poverty, urban K-8 school, my students learn all subjects in two languages, reading and writing in both English and Spanish. That means twice as much reading, twice as much writing, and twice as much thinking. It means we sometimes struggle for resources when the Spanish-language book is not available or is too expensive. When it's time to research about landmark Supreme Court cases or the use of drones in Afghanistan, they evaluate the credibility and potential bias of the source. Then they devour the information, often calling each other over -- "You've got to read this!"
These bilingual middle schoolers are curious, hilarious, and irrepressible; they want to know everything, and they rightly see themselves as leaders.
My students feel pride in their cultural heritage as well as their academic accomplishments. They act with empathy, and they are the kind of people to whom I am glad to entrust this world when I am older and dependent on the younger generation. I want to do anything I can to encourage their best qualities and play to their strengths, even as I try to help them improve their reading and writing skills.
A document camera allows a student or a teacher to place any object under the lens and have that object projected large on the whiteboard for the whole class to see. With the camera... Students can share their in-class writing by placing their work under the camera and reading aloud, reaching both visual and auditory learners. Teachers can take notes into a notebook projected onto the board, so students can better organize their own notebooks (a critical middle school skill) using the teacher's model notebook. Any artifacts we use in class can be placed under the camera and projected for all to see while I point out the different parts, instead of just the few students up front seeing while others wait for it to be passed around.
This technology will help my students find their voice as writers and critical readers.
Please help them with their favorite part of class, sharing the work of which they are proud.
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