I teach in one of the greatest, yet forgotten, American cities: Detroit. My students were born and raised in Detroit and are not naive to the struggles presented to them and their city. Their school is a choice school in Detroit, in one of the hardest hit and poverty ridden neighborhoods of the city. My school does not provide transportation and many of my students are responsible for making sure they and their younger siblings make it to school on time everyday where there is 99% free breakfast and lunch. At our school, there is a high demand for basic needs as well as academic needs.
I tell my students every day: learning isn't easy; embrace the struggle and grow.
This has become our class motto. Together, we are in a special environment this year. As a classroom family, we are fully embracing the traditional self-contained yet non-traditional classroom split seventh and eighth graders. Our school calls my class one of its exceleration classrooms where I work as an educator targeting students that are well below grade level. Even though my students may be behind they have not given up hope or the desire to learn.
This year I volunteered to create a positive learning environment where my students will learn to love reading by not reading straight out of a textbook. In order to make sure that happens, I am hoping to add high interest novels to my whole classroom library for my students to read as a class.
The one thing that I have learned as a newer teacher is that the enthusiasm I bring to a lesson is mirrored by my students.
Therefore I picked two novels I highly enjoyed reading with student groups previously: Holes by Louis Sachar and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. As I write this it is only October, I have already seen tremendous growth from my students since we started our first novel study: The One and Only Ivan. I hope to continue to expand their interest in novels and love of reading through these two modern classics that I am personally so fond of.
The novels will be used in a whole group setting where all of my students will be engaged in the ELA lessons. These books will be used in place of a traditional curriculum. By supporting our classroom you will show my young Detroiters that the world has not forgotten about them and is hoping that they will go far in this life.
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