During my undergraduate field training to become a teacher, I completed stints as an assistant teacher/student teacher in 3 different districts. One was on the wealthy side, one was in the middle and one was the total opposite end of the SES spectrum from the first one (this one is the school where I will be fortunate enough to teach at next year). This school is 99% free and reduced lunch, which is even lower SES than my current school which is 90%.
At any rate, the biggest differences I noticed in these schools, besides the diversity (or lack thereof in school #1) was their approach to literacy instruction. I learned SO.MUCH. once I student taught in my district that none of my undergrad classes in Language Arts could even come close to scratching the surface on. One of the biggest things I came away with was an appreciation for Word Walls. Now in most places I know, Word Walls are all the rage for K-2 and sometimes into 3rd grade. In my district they are required K-5 and even recommended for 6-8 in some schools.
This past year, we were given some activity cards by a big university that was partnering with us to increase physical activity for students. Clearly time is of the essence in schools these days with the testing craze and everything, but these activity cards allow the students to get some movement in while they practice the words up on the word wall. Sheer brilliance! I made a copy of the cards for myself and took it home before I left my school this year. I knew I wanted to have those handy no matter what grade I ended up in for the future.
This afternoon I sat outside with The Littles and we cut out the slips, glued them onto mini-flash cards in different colors and instead of wasting money on laminate (which tends to be SO expensive), I used clear packaging tape to cover them. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but no one is even likely to notice unless they are holding the card and it provided the reinforcement I wanted for them. I am pretty happy with how they turned out. Plus the activities are just fun.
The Husband saw what some of the activities were and said "you're going to do those with 5th graders?!" and I just chuckled. Kids constantly amaze me at the crazy and silly stuff they will do if they see their teacher do it too. I think they figure if this adult is willing to do something that makes them look silly and goofy, they can do it too.