Friday, July 29, 2016

Please Welcome Amanda Xavier, Guest Teacher-Author



About Amanda

   Hi! My name is Amanda Xavier and I've been a teacher in Brooklyn, NY for the past 15 years. The last 9 have been in 6th grade ELA. I edit the school paper and am one of the driving forces in the push to move our academy toward an emotional and physical health and fitness direction. One of my passions is animal rescue and conservation. I want my students to understand that giving back to their community helps them build pride in their neighborhood and builds character and self esteem. So far it's been a moderate success and everyone involved has a sense of satisfaction. I have a very supportive boyfriend and a rescue kitty cat of my own to take care of.
                                                                                
  Finding Furever Homes

    Many teachers get into the profession because we love children, learning and school.  They are our passions, but it does tend to make us seem one dimensional. Some of us are lucky and can teach in a subject that we really love in our personal lives. I have always been an avid reader, it’s my escape, my travel, my dreams, so it is amazing that I get to teach it every day and share that love of reading with my kids. But you what is beyond even that experience?  Sharing a personal cause with your kids and getting them involved with helping others and watching them grow into mature, responsible, civic minded individuals.


Community Service
   Every year, I partner with two local shelters, Unwanted NYC Pets, and Sean Casey Animal Rescue, in Brooklyn, New York. I take my kids to Sean Casey and we walk the shelter dogs to help out. Each small group gets a homeless pup and we walk him or her around the neighborhood.  For some kids, this is their first up close interaction with dogs, they all love it.  It doesn’t stop there though. We then try to get those fur babies ADOPTED!!!! We create posters and fliers to put around the school, neighborhood, and apartment buildings to get them loving furever homes. Here are last year’s websites: Furever Homes and Roots and Shoots. And we have much fun walking those cuties!

   If that weren’t enough for my fabulous kids to do, we also fundraise! We sell snacks at dances to donate to the medical care of the rescued dogs at Unwanted NYC Pets.
    
   And because we rock it super hard, we collect doggie treats to bring to the dogs at the kill shelters at Christmas time. That way they have a nice treat before they’re euthanized.

Tying it All Together
   So yes, my kids love helping out these dogs (and cats sometimes). They feel proud of themselves, their confidence and self-worth grows exponentially. They know they are helping animals who really need it, and even though none of the dogs have officially been adopted through our direct efforts, they are getting the word out there and raising awareness in the community. But how does this tie into ELA? By connecting it to a book about a former bait dog who found his furever home, Oogy Book Study. My kids learn about the horrors and effects of dog fighting and the beauty of adopting a pet, write persuasive letters to the local council member to ask for harsher punishments for animal abusers and dog fighters, create posters and websites to teach our school mates what the real story behind dog fighting is, and write persuasive essays about animal adoption, spaying and neutering pets, and animal abuse laws, Persuasive Writing Guide.


   That’s not bad for a bunch of 11-12 year olds, and they’re teaching their brothers and sisters, cousins, parents, and one day their own kids. And when they are old enough to vote, they will make a real difference in the humane treatment of animals. They know that everyone can make a difference if they care enough. Just saying something is horrible will not effect change; you have to stand up for what you believe in and get hands-on with the projects you care most about. I am beyond proud of my kids, they make me and a bunch of homeless pets smile every single day.
                                                             
                                                             Cheers,

                                                             Amanda

                                                                               

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