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Be the Change You Wish to See in the Classroom

It’s MLK Day and the perfect time to start a conversation about how close the knowing-doing gap around improving teaching and learning for diverse students through culturally responsive teaching. We hear it all the time.  We need to get test scores up. We have to improve reading proficiency. Let’s raise math achievement. As educators, we have…

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Getting Students to Take Off the Mask

As a student, I’ve had the privilege of having two highly skilled culturally responsive teachers. One was Mr. Ruane in 10th grade at George Washing High School in San Francisco. Mr. Ruane was a white teacher who coached football and taught African American Literature. What I remember most about him was how comfortable he was…

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King’s Legacy: Teaching Thinking is an Act of Social Justice

It’s that time of year when we pause to remember Dr. King. Countless school children listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech. They learn about civil rights protests so people of color could eat where they wanted or vote without any restrictions. But there’s another cause that Dr. King believed in just as strongly,…

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Three Fun Ways to Build CRT Background Knowledge This Summer

Yesterday I started noticing the ads for Back-to-School shopping on the radio and couldn’t believe it.  But then I remembered that last year they started advertising Christmas stuff in October. Does that mean our opportunities for summer learning are over? Summer is the perfect time for building our culturally responsive teaching chops because we are…

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Teaching from a Pedagogy of Promise

“A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.” – Old Proverb   It’s testing season.  I know because it always brings out teachers’ angst. I showed up recently for a coaching session with an elementary school…

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Teaching for Social Justice Can Jump Start Cultural Responsiveness

Sometimes trying to understand and implement culturally responsive teaching in a systematic and comprehensive way feels like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time — hard. Both require focus and coordination.  And honestly, it takes awhile to get the hang of either one. There is one way to reduce…

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How to Approach Testing Season as a Culturally Responsive Educator

It’s testing season again.  Much of my work with teachers has slowed down because they’ve turned their attention to getting ready to administer the state achievement test. Even in my house, we are not immune to the realities of testing season. Recently, a notice came from school reminding me that testing is coming.  When I…

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Managing the Dynamics of Difference

I was working with a group of teachers recently around building their culturally responsive toolkit.  One teacher was having trouble thinking about how to manage all the different cultures in her classroom.  “I have at least 13 different cultures and languages represented in my classroom.  I can’t manage all of those different needs,” she said….

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Mindfulness as Path to Reduce Unequal Discipline

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way — on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.     Jon Kabat-Zinn   Last week I joined a group of educators interested in mindfulness as a tool in the classroom.  Our group leader, Kate Janke of the Heart-Mind Education Project has been working to bring mindfulness to schools…

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True Grit: Can We Teach Students to Be Persistent Learners?

When I think of Alvin Toffler’s quote, it reminds me of Briana, a 4th grader living in the predominately African American and Latino low-income community in East Oakland. Her grandmother asked me to come over and help her with her reading. I could see that she had a sharp wit and quick mind, but she…

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