Michelle’s presentation had a few tips that we could use in teaching culturally responsive. Splitting the class in groups where she chose the person that would facilitate the discussion and the person that reflects on the small group discussion, showed that she knew her students. As a teacher you know the students that are active and participate in class, but this strategy gave the opportunity to students whose voices are not heard to be part of the discussion. As facilitator, the student ensures that all the members are provided with opportunities to be engaged, and helps individuals expand on their ideas or perspectives.
The reflector provides the final summary of what the group accomplished, and shares it with the whole class.
Michelle also shared with us that at the end of the class she would vote with bodies for her lesson essential question. I’ve seen this before in a Social Study class and students responded to it very well. The students that were in the same group shared their opinions and then listen to their peers’ opinions.
Scott’s presentation was the perfect example of bringing different subjects together and engaging your students in a project that is place based. Students don’t always know a lot about the place they live, and Scott’s exercise gave them the chance to dig deeper while bringing also the community in the project.
Ernestine Hayes’s reading from her book “The Blonde indian” was very emotional. Neither fully Native American or Euro-American, she encounters a feeling of alienation from both her Native culture and the Western culture. She realized early in life that she could never be” a blue bird” and she would just be “ a seagull”, like her elementary teacher told her. Ernestine’s message to us was to believe that every child is brilliant, and to engage them into critical thinking. She tells her students that the recipe to succeed is: “ 1% what you know, 2% who you know, and 97% DETERMINATION”. As teachers, we need to realize that we are not only changing a child’s life, but a generation.