ABOUT MY CLASSROOM
Our classroom library is the heart and soul of my classroom. I have completed several DonorsChoose projects and Amazon Wish List projects to build our library to the collection it is now.
I teach 5th grade at Lantrip Elementary. My school is part of the Houston Independent School District, located in Houston, Texas. You can read more about my school here and view our state academic data here.
Our school population largely reflects the demographics of the surrounding East End neighborhood. 99% of our students are identified as racial minorities, with 94% of students identified as Hispanic, 4% as African-American, 1% as Asian, and 1% as white. 81% of our students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch, 33% are classified as English Language Learners, and 8% receive special education services. We also have a life skills special education program and a deaf education program at our school. 28.3% of our students participate in the bilingual education program, which is available in Pre-K through 3rd grade. Our school has an environmental science magnet program that does pull some students from outside of our neighborhood. Students attend an ancillary class once a day, and cycle between science lab, music, and PE. Tutorials are offered by teachers after school (all year long) and on Saturdays (during the second semester).
Summer Enrichment Course
During the summer, my school offers enrichment courses to students who are interested in participating in blended learning and project-based learning opportunities. During the summer of 2017, I taught an enrichment class that focused on the immigrant and refugee experience throughout history. Students used Chromebooks (at a one-to-one ratio) to research why people immigrate to America and what challenges they face. They worked in groups to design a project that would help refugees and immigrants living in Houston. At the end of the summer, they presented their learning during a project expo that was attended by families, community members, Houston ISD officials, and the City of Houston’s Education Director. For more information on this unique summer school class, click here.
Information about Instruction
My school gives teachers a fair amount of autonomy when it comes to lesson planning. Teachers are expected to follow the state-mandated TEKS, but can design lessons and units that are responsive to their students. For example, reading teachers are not limited to choosing from certain texts for class novels, but instead can use any novel they deem fit for instruction.
Whether or not teachers are self-contained or departmentalized depends on the grade level and the instructional strand (magnet versus non-magnet) that a teacher is part of. I teach 3 blocks of English Language Arts lasting 90 minutes each to a mix of magnet and non-magnet students. I teach Social Studies to my homeroom class for 40 minutes a day, and that class is entirely non-magnet. I teach 58 students total, with class sizes ranging between 18 and 22 students each. My students are 5% African-American, 94% Hispanic, and 1% white. My students are evenly split between males and females, and 10 of my students receive either special education or section 504 accommodations. Approximately 17% of my students are classified as Gifted and Talented (GT). According to my students’ reading level data from the end of 4th grade, 43% of my students are reading below grade level, 34% are reading on grade level, and 21% are reading above grade level.
This year, I am part of my school's Shared Decision Making Committee and I am the coordinator for our school-wide Title I program. In the past, I have been the sponsor of the 3rd-5th grade Name that Book team, and the Harry Potter Book Club. In the past, I have organized a field trip for female students to participate in the Girls Empowerment Network conference and I have facilitated sessions about independent reading engagement strategies and technology integration at campus faculty meetings.