My students live in St. Louis City and come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. We strive to provide our students with a rich and engaging curriculum that emphasizes community and leadership. Students in my classroom are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning experiences, and a lot of the learning that is taking place in my classroom is student-led. My passion for teaching and for my students definitely shines through, and my students are excited to start each day with me and disappointed to go home at the end of the day.
Creating a classroom that is built with a strong focus on community is my top priority.
My students know that we all must work together in order to make our classroom community work, just as our outside community works together. I refer to my students as "my kids" because they are my kids. We share laughter and tears, hardships and triumphs, as well as risks and learning experiences. We are taking the journey together.
I tell them every day, "You are not doing this alone. I am here with you every day and always."
It is so difficult to find books that feature strong African American women that serve as leaders in their communities. I first learned about this initiative during professional development and immediately knew that I wanted to bring the story of Marley Dias to our own community to encourage our young ladies of color to be positive role models in their communities. My recent DonorsChoose.org delivered 19 of these books to our classroom.
My students have gained so much confidence in their reading and cannot wait to get more books that are about kids just like them.
They are so engrossed in the stories of young boys and girls that look like them and feature black girls and boys. I LOVE seeing them so excited about books, when it is difficult to convince my students to read in the first place, at times. The pictures of my students actually reading and finishing books that they start brings tears to my eyes. They fight over who is going to read each book next. I have hooked them!
Marley states that "if we want the world to be a better place where everyone feels welcomed and understood, then we must be sure that children have books about black girls and all kinds of people." Students of color naturally want to read and enjoy books about other kids that look like them, which can be difficult when many of the books that are written feature white characters.
I want to create a classroom library where my girls can have role models to focus on and idolize. It is my wish that my project is funded so that the ladies in my class are inspired by what they are reading and that inspiration turns to a lifelong love of reading!
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