Since we are a charter school, our students come from all over Salt Lake Valley (and beyond), and from all different backgrounds. We are a Title 1 school, so most of our students are low income, many from immigrant families. I teach geography and history, and our students bring fascinating firsthand perspectives on all sorts of topics - immigration, refugees, homelessness, world religions, etc.
I hear about stereotypes of teenagers who bully and torment each other, but our school is unified by an appreciation of each other's differences.
Our students have very different personalities, interests, passions, backgrounds, abilities, and disabilities, but they are remarkably accepting of each other. I've even heard students say things to the effect of, "we're all weird, and we're cool with that."
At our Title 1 school we are trying to give students hands-on experiences with all their subjects. Our classrooms need the things that they will reference throughout the year to better understand historic and geographic context and make connections to an ever more globalized world.
Just like science classrooms that are filled with the instruments students use for experiments, social studies classrooms need the maps, globes, charts, photographs, and paintings to immerse our students in a history or geography "lab."
My students regularly walk up to my map to explain their theories and point out their evidence. I would love to have more current and clear maps, photographs, and painting that students can use as primary sources. Our current globes are broken and far outdated, and it would be very helpful to have ones that stay together. Each of the things on our list will help make history and geography more accessible and interesting for students. I have always wanted, for instance to have a raised relief map to help both history students understand and picture better the westward expansion of the United States, as well as to help geography students understand topographical maps and tectonic movement more visually.
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