The Adventure Begins

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 08 2010

“dear miss newell, tank you for tehing me a lot of math i wish id stay
from miguel”
Today, I gave the kids 5 minutes of time to themselves today. I told them they could color a picture or write a letter about whatever they wanted. Miguel was the only one that decided to write a letter, and he wrote one to each of his teachers. The one I got looked exactly like the one above, on 8.5 x 11 paper with purple crayon.
It’s moments like that where I realize that  these kids need a fighting chance, and they need to know that they are loved in school. I love them…I’ve known them for only a few weeks and I really can’t wait to see their growth. I mean, I want to love them and want them to come to Tulsa with me, but I know that isn’t reality.
I just don’t understand kids like Miguel. I found out that he doesn’t sleep often, but that he also lives with at least 5 other kids. I saw his brother today and they look EXACTLY ALIKE. It was crazy. I know that school is hard for him, and it’ll only get harder if he can’t invest or if no one will help him get there. I wish I could stay for him too.
Four days of summer school are left. Stay tuned for photos of the kids that are now mine. :]

2 Responses

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Of course this won’t work with preschoolers when you get to OK, but I work with an English teacher who every fall has her students write a letter to her telling about themselves, particularly things that she ought to know such as if they have difficulty seeing or their parents just seperated or the like. The letters are very revealing. Some break your heart. The teacher returns them where they are kept in a folder of school work collected throughout the year and then used as evidence of writing growth. The letters need never be shown to parents if the students don’t want to, but they are a powerful tool to learn a lot about students on the fly and as a way for them to look back and see how far they’ve come. Good for Miguel and especially for you to have thought of it.

    At Ocean Park School I worked with a teacher who did compliment books with students for the staff. Each student had to say something nice about a particular staff member. It was written on a 3X5 card, decorated, hole punched and put on a ring as a gift for a birthday or when someone left the building for another job. I’ll bet you did that in 3rd grade!

  2. sadienewell

    stephanie, that’s brilliant! I wish I could utilize it in my class, but since I can’t I’ll pass the message along to my friends that are in upper-el and middle school.

    I looked at the data of our kids – overall, we’ve had significant growth in math. It’s hard to celebrate when I know how hard school is going to get for these kids, but also…rewarding to see the difference. Thanks for all your advice, I really appreciate it – and it’s always good to hear from a veteran!

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About this Blog

my "real world" life is beginning – and along with it, my kids' educations. Join me in my quest to eliminate the achievement gap: one pre-k student at a time.

Early Childhood
Elementary Education

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