Thursday, July 31, 2014

Asking for a Little Help

Can you believe it's time to go back to school?

One week from today we'll kick off a brand new year.  It's hard to believe the summer is already over!   I've spent most of this summer working on research for a book (I don't want to go too much into detail on that just yet) and then Mr. SIGIS and I took a trip to Iowa to see his family.    It was a very busy and productive summer.

This week, I'm in a very intensive training workshop through NMSI -- that is, the National Math and Science Initiative.  This is a national initiative to raise scores in math and science but, thankfully, we all realize you can't do that without English which is my content area.  Our school was fortunate enough to be selected for the NMSI program and thus my training this week.  

And OH what training!  In some ways, I feel like I've been "doing it wrong" all these years.  I feel more enthusiastic than I have in years about starting a new year.  This training has shown me new techniques and strategies for my kids than I could ever imagined.  I'm so mentally exhausted when I come home, last night I went to bed before dark and my neighbor was still outside mowing his grass.  It's fab!

Let's just say that it hasn't been one of those droning, repetitive in-service workshops where you want to grind your eyes out with a paper clip.  

At any rate, I'm ready to put this training into practice.  You may recall that last year I appealed for help in getting basic supplies for my classroom.  Part of the problem last year was the new curriculum and the need for books.  Our school is low income, inner city, low parental support -- and many of our students don't have the money to go purchase paperback novels. 

Last year, you, my readers, came through in an astounding way.  I was moved to tears almost daily by the
flood of supplies and donations that I received.  Almost daily the front office would call and tell me I had "another box" downstairs.  I put four sets of novels in our library that my students will be able to use again this year!  I got a flood of basic supplies like pens, paper, and notebooks, too. 

Best of all, my kids were so grateful and thrilled when they had crisp new books to read and never had to worry about paper and pens to get their work done.  It was a blessing beyond measure.

This year, my needs are not as great, but I still have needs.  Things like pens, pencils and paper have been consumed and need to be restocked.  

My Creative Writing class needs a text - I'd like to use Rick Bragg's Somebody Told Me as a reader for them for several reasons:  first, he's a Pulitzer prize winning author; second, he is a southern writer, and we live in the south!  And finally, the book is a collection of his articles and series of articles and will enable us to branch out into fabulous discussions and bridge over to readings by other authors that I will bring in.

I need printer ink.  We are limited to 500 copies a month at my school.  Think about that -- I have English II, English IV, and Creative Writing.  Three preps -- so running "a class set" isn't much help.  By the time I've run off my syllabus and a couple of quizzes, I've used all my copies for the first month!  I need to be able to print text passages that my kids can use in close-reading exercises, that they can annotate and mark up; I need to be able to print graphic organizers and current event reading selections; printing is just a must.

My seniors need flash drives:  most of them don't have computers at home or laptops to carry around, so when they work on their Senior Project research papers, they are working from computers at school, at the public library, maybe at home -- they're working from multiple stations.  A flash drive is critical so a student doesn't lose his work.

It may not seem like much to ask a kid to go to Walmart or a dollar store and pick up a spiral notebook, but some of these kids are working two and three jobs just to help keep the electricity on at home.  To them, an eight dollar thumb drive is extravagant; you could feed the family supper on that.

Anyway, I'm again pleading for your help this year.  I've set up a project at Adopt-a-Classroom again where you can donate; I'm also posting my wish items via Amazon below, which you can order and have shipped straight to me at school.  The shipping address for that would be Bossier High School, Attn:  Pat Becker, 777 Bearkat Drive, Bossier City, LA, 71111.  

You can also use my PayPal widget on the top right sidebar.

I'm really excited about the new school year and to use the new strategies and skills I've learned!  I know my kids are going to do great!  We have great kids at our school who are ready to learn and to achieve.  Please consider helping us, if you can.  Nothing is too small -- and my kids are grateful for all the help and support they can get.

Both I and my students are grateful for your help!

 Update:  Thank you Adrienne!  I promise I'll buy thumb drives!  You rock!


Adrienne said...

Sent a little on Adopt a Classroom. buy some thumb drives. :-)

Pat Austin said...

I will! I love you!! Thank you so much!