I work with amazing second-graders in a small town located on a Native American reservation. Most of my students come from generational poverty, which can bring trauma. Every year, I do my best to create a classroom family where each child feels safe, successful, and loved. Local families are generously supporting the school with basic supplies. Unfortunately, there is a gap between what will help our children learn and our budgets.
The children in my class are sponges and love using technology to learn.
They also need hands-on activities that engage them.
That is why I do my best to find meaningful lessons/materials that will help them grow personally and academically. In a typical second-grade classroom student abilities range from preschool levels to as high as 5th-grade levels and lessons are no longer one size fits all.
Last year I tried using compositions notebooks, for the first time, in my second grade reading class. We taped long red ribbons inside back covers to use as bookmarks and then I taught my students different ways to respond to reading. They learned how to make connections, ask questions, record facts, and make predictions just to name a few skills. I was not prepared for how using these "new" notebooks would transform the way my kids viewed reading and writing.
The children saw their composition notebooks as real books with covers.
These 7 year olds actually became motivated writers and critics as they started being neater, offering text evidence, and became more thoughtful as they wrote. Some students even asked to write in these notebooks during their free time (I have never had kids ask to write during their free time). My second graders had never seen or used these notebooks before and somehow this new style of a writing book worked magic on their motivation and effort. To this day, I can't really explain it, but I want to offer next year's class the same experience. I want my future students to love and have pride in their thinking and notebooks. I am also hoping to transfer this enthusiasm to our math class as well. I would be so grateful if you help me provide each of my students with composition books and sharp pencils to help them learn next year.
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