A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Here's a grant I wrote for another teacher. It received funding from the Chicago Foundation for Education.


Increase math literacy and proficiency through the utilization of literature in my classroom.

Students Impact:

Based on Learning First Standardized Test data, all of my students scored in the first and second quartiles, well below the third or meets quartile needed to meet the requirements for mathematics at their grade level. With the assistance of skilled based workbooks, texts and other trade books, I have discovered remediation and review only carries the class so far. My project will enrich their mathematical skills through the use of literature. Many of my students are frightened by math and because of their fears, they are often overwhelmed by the various concepts and ideas mathematics presents to them. Utilizing a library of literature to teach them math (and I will be the classroom coach—not the classroom teacher—during this activity), will give them another strategy to understand mathematics. Furthermore, literature will invite my classroom to explore the world of mathematics through a different worldview—literature as a mathematical model.

Students will read various books in small grouped literature circles analyzing the mathematical content through the use of exposition, characterization, plot, etc. (For example, Shel Silverstein has a number of poems with math themes that are both engaging and full of mathematical concepts.) My students will then create their own versions of the literature to further reinforce what they have learned. In addition, their completed books will be self published by the classroom and displayed prominently in the classroom library for other students to check out and read. Students will also participate in read-alouds to both their peers and to students in the primary grades. Finally students will take the reading circle books and their own self published books home to share with family and family friends.

All of these activities will increase my students’ fluency; comprehension; word knowledge; number sense; measurement skills; and give them a comprehensive understanding of algebraic concepts, geometry, data analysis, statistics and probability.

I will evaluate the success of this project utilizing the following data: a ten percent increase in math and reading skills in the second and third Reading First test; an increase of ten percent in both math and reading on the Illinois standardized test, the ISAT; and a decrease by fifty percent negative referrals to the office. I also expect a hundred percent increase in library participation and check out from our classroom library.


(I asked the teacher to paste the reading standards here)


Classroom library of mathematics through literature:$400

Barnes and Nobles

Book making materials:$100

Lakeshore Learning


If this grant is funded, additional resources include assistance from SouthStreet Journal, a local newspaper, and Student Treasures Publishing, a corporation that has committed to publishing one hardback book for each participating child’s original work.


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