Growing up in Brooklyn, NY is both exciting and challenging for young students. Access to museums, parks, and opportunities for authentic learning experiences abound, but schools are large, often lacking essential equipment and materials needed for learning. Students are sometimes limited by classrooms that do not have materials appropriately leveled for their ability.
This fourth grade classroom is full of students eager to engage with authentic tasks in the classroom.
Students are just beginning to use what they have learned to collaborate, create, and express themselves. Some of the students in my classroom are general education students and about 30% are students with special needs. I also have a few "newcomer" students who speak very little English. We work particularly hard on developing appropriate social skills and verbal/written self-expression.
In our classroom, we use an inquiry-based approach to teach reading. In response to the provocation: Humans create technology to respond to changes in the environment, my students have posed questions about climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, and electricity. The next step of the inquiry process is for them to begin finding out information about a particular area of interest they have within the unit.
In order to take them through the next step of researching and finding answers to their own questions, I must have access to books for them to read!
Ultimately, the end of this unit will be a final project in which my students will design their own way to harness a renewable energy source. At the moment, I am printing out articles every day to try to keep up with their questions. Our classroom currently has a few public library books and a bin of about 15 books about renewable energy, but it just isn't enough to keep up with the demand of 20 students who are intensely interested in the topics they are studying! What a wonderful problem to have. I don't want to let them down, so I need your help!
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