I teach sixty students in English Language Arts. All of the students are identified as special-education due to a learning disability or health impairment. These students tend to be three to four grade levels behind their peers. In addition to the varying levels of ability, this population of students brings with them battles and personal experiences that can add to or inhibit the learning environment within the classroom. Many students are also contending with behavioral diagnoses such as Attention Deficit Disorder or behavior of the like. While the lessons I produce are including best practices both academically and behaviorally, sometimes the students just need an extra: minute to say hi, an extra hug in the morning, an extra apple for a snack, or maybe, an extra special place to sit and help them focus in class. These students are all young humans with great potential, compassionate hearts, helping hands and bright minds. They deserve the best learning experience I can provide.
"If equality means giving everyone the same resources, equity means giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and thrive." -Educator Shane Safir
My students have helped to renovate the gardens and greenhouse over the past year. They have written proposals and worked with the local church and community members to overhaul the beds in the greenhouse and create a raised bed outside of the greenhouse for those students in walkers and wheelchairs. They also helped in writing the grant to have a ramp to make the raised bed accessible. Their efforts, along with volunteers, have given us a fully functioning greenhouse, complete with lights and irrigation, as well as multiple beds outside.
Now the students need something to plant.
The students have created designs and layouts of where they want to plant specific plants, especially an herb garden in the raised bed, to allow for a sensory space for students needing a few minutes to calm down. Their designs and layouts have incorporated multiple skills and standards, including measurement, research, collaboration and graphic design. For students who struggle in reading, writing and math, this project has engaged them completely and I would like to see their learning continue and make their plans a reality.
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