What are examples of place-based and culturally responsive curriculum/instruction at your school? Be prepared to discuss in class.
The North Slope School District has implemented some really awesome cultural and place-based units through what is called “Project Umiaq.” Each quarter we have certain units to teach that coincide with the times of the year in which each event historically took place. In addition, all the units are taught at the same time throughout the district and in each respective content area class so that collaboration and discussion is possible with teachers and students all over the slope. Some of the units are taught in both Social Studies and English so that teachers have the opportunity to take the units a step further 🙂 These units have been developed by our community’s elders and culture bearers and we have had several opportunities to listen to them speak to us and teach us about the units. The resources that we are provided with really give us the opportunity to learn about the culture, community, and the history of Inupiat people. Each unit has teacher books, student workbook and books, and some have video documentaries that were filmed by culture bearers. I’m hopeful to use these units as a jumping off point and continue to incorporate as much as I can each day in class so as not to fall into the heroes and holidays trap that we talked about this summer. We also have this really cool application called Rubicon that gives us a pacing guide and lets us search our content area for units that other teachers have drawn up which have been reviewed by the district. Each year, new teachers are required to develop a unit to submit for review. I am truly blessed to be working up here this year and hopefully for years to come. The students up here are such a good group of kids and they put a smile on my face every day. I can’t wait to be able to have a good grasp on this thing called teaching so that we can learn from each other and bring everyone’s culture and community into the classroom!