My students need an unexciting, unassuming, humble, but indispensable easel.
I teach 50 energetic, curious, and delightful sixth graders in two daily extended literacy blocks. Only four read at their grade level; many read two-three levels below their grade. They are African-American and Hispanic students at a Chicago public school which slowly is showing gains in reading scores. My classes have a small percentage of students with limited English skills. My students engage daily in reading and writing workshops that provide them with extended time to read and write, with short but intensive direct instruction in whole- and small-groups.
Crowded around the easel, eagerly reading the morning message I wrote and posted on it, my lively sixth graders wait their turn (some patiently, some impatiently) to write their responses to my message. Oops! Someone accidentally bumps the easel. Oh no! CRASH! One of the easel's rickety legs that I carefully had propped against a bookcase gives out and the easel falls from its precarious position. The paper holding the morning message comes loose and gets stepped on and torn as students work to right the easel. A bit later, the message, now taped, is tacked back on to the easel, which is balanced by a student. For the remainder of the day, other students hold the easel during the three small group lessons. After class, the janitor tells me it is irreparable and he lugs it away. I realize that the easel is pivotal to our classroom's learning style. We rely on the easel for many lessons throughout the day.
A portable easel allows my students to benefit completely from the workshop model. Their eleven-and twelve-year-old brains benefit from frequent movement, so they move their chairs to different areas of the room for their lessons. The easel accompanies them. At the start of the day, the easel holds the morning message, which sets the tone for our day together. Then it moves to the carpet, the reading table, or a central gathering place where students huddle around it to work to improve their reading, writing, and vocabulary skills in small group work. An ideal easel moves quickly, quietly, and safely throughout the room. It has a double sided whiteboard so we can save work on one side while working on the other. The easel holds paper as well, but the erasable white board allows us to save our paper resources.
Little things mean a lot. My students face small indignities every day. Their school's bathrooms often have no soap in spite of being told to frequently wash their hands. They have limited or no books at home, but their school does not have money to purchase books for their classroom's library. They improve their reading and writing through the workshop model, but their school cannot provide a tool that greatly fosters the smooth-running of their daily workshops. Teachers help with the little things as much as we can - we provide soap for the bathroom, scour garage sales and used book stores for books. Now my students need help from a caring friend to provide one more little thing. It means so much!
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|FOLDING DOUBLE SIDED MOBILE EASEL 24WX58H27L -- Balt Folding Easel on Wheels • Quill||$206.99||1||$206.99|
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