Sunday, December 27, 2009


Dear Blogosphere,

I am asking for your HELP! As you know, I work in a high-need, impoverished community in Northwest Arkansas. One of the things I have worked on in my classroom a lot this year is getting the students to read more. We have a campaign called AR Reads (Arkansas Reads). The students are expected to read 250,000 words per quarter, and a total of 1,000,000 for the year. When they have completed a book they have to take a test on the computer, and if they pass, they get credit for however many words the book was worth.

The program started out slowly the first quarter because of unclear expectations from the teachers, the students not actually believing there were consequences/advantages, etc. But, last quarter the program was HIGHLY successful. All of my students expect for 3 read at least one book, which is an accomplishment, as first quarter about 65% of students did not read anything! I implemented a public tracker on the wall where they get an X each time they complete 50,000 words, all the way up to 250,000 words. I was so impressed that they were even invested in that, as many would come asking if they could get their X IMMEDIATELY after taking a test (like...when they weren't in my class and were supposed to be somewhere else!).

ANYWAY, I have invested a lot of time and money in building my "library" in my classroom, and I would like to make it an even better project now. I submitted a proposal to www.DonorsChoose.Org, a website that helps teachers in under-served, under-represented communities fun projects for their classrooms and their students' benefit.

I created a project centered around my library, asking for a couch, coffee table, and rug!!! I'd really like to reward my students for their commitment to this part of their education with a comfortable place to do some reading. We do silent reading twice a week, once for 30-40 minutes, and once as a Bell-Ringer for 15 minutes. This, assuming the students read about a page a minute, and with 9 weeks in the quarter, allows the students to read about 2 books in class time, which should fill about 100,000 words. That relieves some of the pressure for them, as they only have to then read 150,000 words on their own.

Half of my project is funded by a private grant (the Gates Foundation) because it will "lead towards success in college," which is amazing! I only need a little more then $400 dollars to complete it!

If you have friends, family, acquaintances - please encourage them to support this project!!
These are the links for my two projects ....

Classroom Library
Classroom Set of "The Bluest Eye"

THANK YOU in advance for all of your help in advance!!!!! My students and I really appreciate anything you can do to help!

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