7 Reasons How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement

Eric Jensen and Ruby Payne are two well known researchers regarding poverty and schools.  Ruby lived it.  I had the opportunity to hear her keynote at the NAESP convention about 12 years ago in Baltimore, MD.  I also had the opportunity to hear Rita Pierson keynote at a conference in Lake Placid about 15 years ago.  All about students and how to overcome poverty.  (Rita worked for Ruby Payne’s company and went around the country to talk about kids in poverty.  She was the speaker that I shared last year about Being a Champion for Kids during her TED Talk.)

In a May 2013 Educational Leadership article, Eric Jensen identifies 7 reasons how poverty affects classroom engagement.  The question in the article is this:  “Are students in poverty more likely to struggle with engagement in school?”  The answer is yes.  His suggestion?  To understand the 7 differences or reasons between middle-class and low-income students, know how to address them, and get to know your students.  He states; “But first, my most important suggestion is to get to know your students well. Without respect—and without taking time to connect with your students—these seven factors will mean little.”

Here are the 7 differences or reasons:

  1. Health and Nutrition
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Effort
  4. Hope and the Growth Mindset
  5. Cognition
  6. Relationships
  7. Distress

The article also gives suggestions what we can do to help our students. Read what he has to say!  I will print this one because I feel it’s important not just for kids who are in the low socioeconomic category, but for all kids.  One thing that came to mind while reading this is how we have the philosophy of Responsive Classroom as well as creating our Hopes and Dreams.  Good stuff to think about.  Another link to the article is here.  Enjoy!

Other News

  • Bus Duty for Nov 3- Nov 14:  Team 5:  Mindy Backus, Pam Mahay, Barb Gauthier, Jennifer Nichols.  Upcoming bus duty: Nov 17 – Dec 5:  Team 6: Kathy Buell, Kate Spriggs, Megan Weldon.
  • Thank you all for such a successful Halloween day as well as a wonderful spirit week.  Everything went so well on Friday – the best EVER!  Thank you again to all!
  • Our nest staff meeting is this week, Thursday, November 6th at 7:30a.m. in room 57
  • APPR Declarations are due to me by Friday, November 7th.  I will also be finishing up the first walk through’s this week and next week.  Thanks for working with me on this!
  • Please make sure you sign up on MLP for November 10th Staff Day
  • I am not going to produce a Monday Focus this coming weekend so please make sure you are checking your email.
  • Report cards are due soon.  The SchoolTool portal should be open for 3-5 and Lisa will email staff for K-2 report card on Google Docs.  Our goal is to get the K-2 report card on SchoolTool for the 2nd quarter.  We are still working on this for you.
  • Make sure your clocks have been adjusted.
  • Our next PTO meeting is November 12th at 6:00p.m.  Our PTO is becoming very active and they are a great group of folks who are working together to bridge home to school and school to home.  They are working to plan an AWESOME Harvest Festival on Friday, November 14th.  Please consider helping our PTO and working together to bridge our links with our parents.  Come to a meeting and see what is happening.
  • MUST blog post to read by my friend, Tony Sinanis, Dear Teacher!
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!

Other Items of Interest (Read at your leisure!)

  • With not too much time before the election, the “Smart Schools” Commission report has been released. It describes how the money could be spent if the Smart Schools proposition passes.
  • During its October meeting, the Board of Regents directed Department staff to post the Statewide Strategic Plan for Science for public review and comment. A survey to collect feedback regarding the Statewide Strategic Plan for Science is available until December 3rd.
  • Here are some more ways to see the relationship between poverty and academic achievement and high school graduation.
  • This article, although written before the Common Core, examines changing math standards from the math teachers’ perspective.
  • Dylan Wiliam’s explains formative assessment in this video. Wiliam is the leading researcher of formative assessment.
  • Here are some suggestions for taking a PBL project to the next level.
  • Here are some tips for maximizing deeper learning.
  • These resources do a good job helping students to understand the scope of time and the universe… and our place in it. The Big History Project is pretty cool.
  • This video is shown to incoming students at the beginning of the school year to communicate the school’s approach to the use of mobile devices at school. It’s NOT like the approach many schools take. This school’s message: We Trust You!
  • The National Core Arts Standards have been revised and published. The very short New York comment period about how these standards compare to existing State standards in the arts has already closed.
  • We’re approaching the time of the “slump” that many new teachers face. This archived Mentoring in the 21st Century column from Paula Rutherford explains the slump and makes suggestions for mentors of new teachers to help the new teachers get through it. Edutopia has a list of resources for new teachers that they can look through for ideas. Mentors, remember these messages from new teachers.
  • This classic article by Rick DuFour explains what it means to be a Professional Learning Community. This blog post elaborates.
  • This TED Talk considers creativity – how we lose it and how to get it back.
  • It should not come as a surprise (according to research) that a later sunset translates to an increased level of physical activity in children. Yet, we’ll be turning our clocks back this weekend.
  • You can go on virtual field trips with this collection of apps. Each one is a way to “travel” from the classroom.
  • There’s no lack of advice about homework, but this list includes some good ideas and common sense.
  • There are three basic ideas about teaching writing that are supported by the research: 1) write more, 2) write on the computer, and 3) don’t teach grammar separately. Are these three part of your writing strategy?
  • John Hattie explains some of his findings in this video. Hattie’s work is based on a meta-analysis of many meta-analyses.
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See how you can assess student progress, provide feedback, celebrate student successes and assess, refine, and celebrate your own work.
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Sometimes we’re just too close to our lessons. In this video, Mr. Olio works with a trusted colleague to review student work and inform his instruction.
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Watch how New Tech Network teachers use their collective observations to analyze student work and improve how they respond to students.


A Touch of Humor



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