Every morning I greet my thirty-three fourth graders as they come bursting into my classroom ready to learn. They are a lively, energetic bunch, with a range of diverse learning needs. They have different cultures, languages, countries, and skin colors, but we are a family.
My students come from an extremely wide range of economic and family backgrounds.
With low-income housing apartments, a military base affecting property tax revenue, and a highly transient population, funding is a constant struggle. More than half of my students receive a free or reduced-priced lunch every day. Many are living in multiple family households. With all of the challenges many of them face outside of school, I make it my goal to foster a warm, colorful, safe environment for them to learn and create.
"Class, what is 12 times 5?" ...calls on a raised hand..."Can I get a drink of water?"
Students cannot concentrate on learning when they are thirsty.
This interruption happens multiple times a day. This, or the slapping of a plastic water bottle on the desk or floor, because 4th graders haven't let go of the "bottle flipping" craze yet. Or the frantic rush for paper towels because a broken water bottle lid caused a flood on top of the math book. Or, "My water bottle leaked in my backpack and ruined my homework folder."
Most of the students in my class can't afford things like high-quality water bottles. When disposable plastic is so cheap, this is a luxury. I want to provide my students with a first day of school gift that will last the whole year and keep countless water bottles out of our landfills and oceans.
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