My students need 6 microcassette voice recorders and 10 childrens' books, including "Remember: The Journey to School Integration", by Toni Morrison and "My Dream of Martin Luther King", by Faith Ringgold.
My classroom is in a school in an area that is considered high poverty. Most students are articulate young people, many of whom have highly developed oral communication skills, but who may feel uncomfortable reading aloud in front of others. Scores of over 70% of the students have not been meeting state standards on state tests, and the school is currently undergoing federal restructuring. These children need opportunities to practice reading in a way that is non-threatening and has relevance and purpose to them. Many students do not have access to a large library of books of their own at home. In our school, there is also a pre-K program that helps prepare the children to transition to grade school the following year. If this project is funded, it will allow the high school students to practice reading fluency with non-threatening culturally relevant literature and to create bonds with the young children.
Many of my students come to school angry, frustrated or not feeling up to the task of learning on a daily basis. They need activities that will grip them, that will gain and maintain their interest. Often times, they feel that the stories and books available to them are too difficult to read, or they can't relate to them. The phrase "I hate reading," although less frequent now, is one that would often come up in class. Earlier this year, the students' faces lit up and their engagement grew through their creative designs when they had the chance to write children's books for the students in the pre-K program in the school. One student, who frequently would have his head down in class on other days, patiently read at least six stories to a child who wanted someone to read to him on the day of our class presentations. While I do not have the funds to provide the recorders and books needed myself, even students who feel uncomfortable reading in front of others can have the opportunity to practice a needed skill and provide something tangible and enjoyable for children they know from their community. They love speaking to others, and they adore activities for which they can see real relevance.
In order to make this project a reality, the key component would be digital tape recorders. I have one recorder that I own personally, and students have used it to record some stories already. If you would like to hear an amazing rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus," you should stop by my classroom or wait for our CD release! However, it is not feasible for an entire classroom to be able to do this type of activity without more materials. Students need to be able to work with the technology, share what they are doing with others and use texts that are relevant to them as well. This particular project would also help to prepare students for college as it relates to them learning to use technology not only to record materials, but how they can work to create multi-media projects and to burn the CDs for the younger children as well. It will increase their confidence in reading and reading scores because it allows them multiple opportunities to practice this invaluable skill. While six recorders and at least ten books will be enough to get the students started, I hope as the project gains momentum, that I can eventually broaden the scope of the project as well.
My students love to learn! Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, it seems as though many students feel that others do not view them as the same capable young people I do. They fear the reputation the school has as one where students do not succeed in the academic sense--where life on the street, life without a high school diploma is for too many young people a reality. I want to empower my students, to give them the confidence in themselves that they do not always exhibit when it comes to academic settings. My students are some of the most caring, honest, and bright young people I have ever met. I want to give them the opportunity to do something where they will shine, where they will see a strong purpose, and that will provide scaffolding to other learning activities that will help to make them and their school a cornerstone for quality education. You will never find a more deserving group of students!
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|Satchmo's Blues Alan Schroeder, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
|Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
|Remember: The Journey to School Integration Toni Morrison • Barnes and Noble||$16.20||1||$16.20|
|Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson Sue Stauffacher, Greg Couch (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$17.99||1||$17.99|
|SONY M570V MICROCASSETTE VOICE RECORDER -- Sony M570V Microcassette Recorder • Quill||$31.49||6||$188.94|
|Something Beautiful Sharon Dennis Wyeth, Sharon Dennis Wyeth (Illustrator), Chris K. Soentpiet (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
|Nappy Hair Carolivia Herron, Joe Cepeda (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
|Cassie's Word Quilt Faith Ringgold (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
|My Dream of Martin Luther King Faith Ringgold, Faith Ringgold (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$7.19||1||$7.19|
|As Good as Anybody Richard Michelson, Raul Colon (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$17.99||1||$17.99|
|The Champ Tonya Bolden, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator), R. Gregory Gregory Christie (Illustrator) • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||1||$6.29|
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