All the world is a stage, but my grammar show is currently a cheap ticket. I teach 8th grade language arts in a rural, critical-needs district in Mississippi, and I am seeking a way to enliven my grammar lessons for students beyond the ho-hum of their textbooks.
My school has received a technology grant that has enabled my principal to purchase an LCD projector and laptop for my classroom. The irony is that my school has no money to purchase a screen to accompany this very expensive piece of technology. The situation reflects the bizarre species of poverty in my school's community: while many of students receive free lunches and cannot afford a writing journal, let alone a future college education, many (astoundingly) have managed to procure cell phones and digital MP3 players. The hierarchy of needs, it seems, operates from the top-down, and my school is lacking in basic ones. An incomplete set of grammar textbooks means that one of my five classes has not been assigned textbooks. Further, for the first few weeks of school, I have played the role of tooth extractor in attempting to impose an inherently boring subject (grammar) on my students in an inherently boring way (through textbooks). The impending arrival of the technology grant has become something of a day of milk and honey on the horizon. There is, however, in my cluttered and illogically designed room, simply nowhere to project the projector.
The LCD projector and laptop will allow me to engage my students through audiovisual material. My students might share my love of grammar if only they were able to hear it in the music that they listen to everyday and see it in song lyrics that I would bring into and display in the classroom. If they could see Martin Luther King Jr. speaking, they might be more interested in analyzing the grammar and rhetorical strategies of "I have a Dream", or in writing their own "I have a Dream" speeches. My students need to see before they can do, and words on paper will not come alive for most of them without engaging them more actively. Further, in any classroom, but probably more so in a classroom with my students, preparation and structure are everything. The difference between writing notes, sentences to be corrected, directions, etc. on the board and having them already prepared in a PowerPoint will be paramount to a well-managed and engaging classroom. But, in keeping with the irony of my students' budgets, I am not requesting a projector, but instead the more basic need of a projector screen to capture the eyes, ears, and attention spans of all 140 of my students.
While a projector screen request may seem as bland as a copy paper request, the nuts and bolts of a classroom make all the difference. I believe that with this simple piece of technology, I will be able to change the tenor of my classroom by inviting my students to see a connection between the English language and their very audio-visually oriented worlds.
|!-PROJECTOR SCREEN/!-TRIPOD 60X60 • Blick Art Materials||$180.50||1||$180.50|
|Item Shipping/Handling Charges • Blick Art Materials||$15.95||1||$15.95|
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