- Due 9/16: Blog #1: What are examples of place-based and culturally responsive curriculum/instruction at your school? Be prepared to discuss in class.
I am very lucky to be placed at Dzantik’i Heeni middle school this year because of the amount of culturally responsive and place-based education that is occurring in all of the classrooms. Specifically, I work in the 7th and 8th grade house (Stikine) and have found many examples of being culturally responsive. My favorite example being when we started the new year and the whole house came up with a project to help set norms for the Stikine House. The 7 teachers came together to decide on a project for the students to create Tlingit shields that honor a specific aspect of culture and adapt it to the Stikine House. There were 4 shield completed for each class: Wooch Yax (maintaining spiritual and social balance and harmony), Haa Aani (honoring and utilizing our land), Haa Latseen (strength of body, mind and spirit) and Haa Shuka (honoring our ancestors and future generations). Each shield had to have the spelling in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian and five bullet points on how it relates to our House. We had a guest come in and explain each aspect and the importance and representation of the shield in the Tlingit culture. This is how we started our year. Another example of place-based instruction in my classroom is a field trip to SLAM. The kids are very excited to visit and explore this new building, or, they are just excited to get out and take a field trip, I can’t tell yet. The field trip is Monday and I will have to report back on their comments and experience there. The year will continually have small and big aspects of culturally responsive and place-based education/curriculum and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see how the students respond and get a “real” chance at exploring more of Juneau/Alaska and everything it has to offer!