My classroom is a home away from home for the 65 4th and 5th graders that come through the door every day. My students often see their teachers and classmates more than their own families and have a strong bond as a classroom community. In a small school of approximately 250 students in PK-5th grade, we are a prime example of the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". Students come with a wide range of strengths and challenges but are always eager to learn. We eat breakfast and lunch together daily and are a true school family. Many students are at school from 7 am to 5:30 pm as they are reliant on bus transportation and are part of our after school activities designed to help families in need of child care.
Show your work!
"Show your work" is probably the most spoken words in any elementary math classroom and mine is no exception. I'm always encouraging my students to show their thinking and annotate their work as they go through our problem solving model and learn new whole number, decimal, and fraction computations. Scratch paper is always available and plentiful! Living in Austin though, my students are very aware of their outdoor environment and are mindful about their day to day choices.
"Our recycling bin is full again"
We definitely have the Recycle and Reuse part down but could use some work on the reducing the amount of paper we use in the classroom. Having dry erase boards and dry erase markers will eliminate our use for paper tremendously! Using white boards allows me as the teacher to assess student immediately and give constructive feedback as we work together to construct learning. At the beginning of every class, my students practice 1-2 computation problems. When they write these on paper, it is difficult to see and makes us go through lots of paper everyday! Having new whiteboards will help us reduce the amount of paper we use and will make it easier for me as the teacher to see what mistakes they are making, if any, and give that immediate feedback.
I am also asking for earbuds for student use. Many students do not get the basic supplies they need from home and we have burned through out first round of earbuds. Earbuds are used daily in multiple classes when students use different computer based programs. Having earbuds will eliminate distractions and noise in the classroom, helping everyone stay focused.