"No one has ever become poor by giving." This quote by Anne Frank, one of mine and my students' inspirations, is the center of learning in my classroom. I teach Language Arts and U.S. History. A lot of people underestimate the cognitive abilities of 10 and 11 year olds, but I will tell you, I am taken aback almost daily by the discussions we have on injustice, inequality, and other social issues.
As poverty stricken 5th graders, my students seem to already have an almost heartbreaking understanding that the world isn't fair.
I preach kindness to them daily. We are learning to feel rich with positivity and love rather than money. Not everyday is a good day for them. Some of them have worries on their plate that are harder than I could've imagined when I got into this field.
My classroom is an inclusion room. About 50% of my students have some sort of learning disability, which has taught me more about patience and empathy than I could have ever imagined possible. I don't know what else to say other than I love them and want to give them the best shot at succeeding they can possibly have.
When my students walk to my classroom library, they don't get excited. I wouldn't either. All of my books were donated from retired teachers, and they are simply outdated and uninteresting to my students.I have a class where almost 50% of my students have learning disabilities which makes it much harder for many of them to read. They come into 5th grade already hating reading because, well, they know they aren't good at it.
If I can get the right book into their hands, they come around and begin to enjoy reading, and they get better at it too.
I used a few Goosebumps books from our school library this year and completely hooked a few of my students. It is a 3rd grade reading level, which is perfect for almost 75% of the students in my 5th grade classroom. I would LOVE to have more of them so that more than just a few of my students can read them at a time.
Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are so important to some of my students' reading comprehension because there are PICTURES in these chapter books. They can look like they are reading big chapter books like some of my higher students, but really they are reading a little, and mostly using the pictures to comprehend what is happening. Both series' are perfect for struggling readers.
I do have about 15 average or high achieving students mixed in with my students with learning disabilities. For those students, I need relevant, yet challenging books. Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events are two powerful series' that can get my students into the habit of deciphering new words and using their imaginations. Those two series' will push my high achievers to become more independent.
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