Embrace Diversity by Andrea Graham

After multiple readings during this course it has helped me be more mindful about race and expectations in the classroom.   How people were treated in the past when it comes to education has a major effect on how things are facilitated now.  There were many injustices in early forms of education for ethnic groups outside of Europeans.  There have been many struggles and fights to get to education system we have now.  The Brown vs. Board decision was a huge hurdle for African Americans and other races as well.  The Supreme Court decision to require all school to desegregate so that every child could have access to quality education was a monumental moment in educational history. Having a good grasp of what injustices groups have endured in the past helps to give a clear picture of the effort that must be put forth in order to stay mindful of these situations currently.

Being a minority myself I have experienced discrimination first hand, as a child and as an adult.  I know how it feels to be made to feel as if I wasn’t worthy based on the fact that my skin is brown or because I am a female.  Also by having a multiracial family I feel that makes me more cognizant of issues today.

I feel that some minority students may have an assumption that they are going to be treated a certain way based on past experiences and the rise of white privilege.  I feel this can also affect not only people of different race but also religion, sex or economic status. I would like to teach children to embrace and celebrate each other’s differences, that’s what makes us unique.

In my classroom I plan on making it culturally responsive by including music from around the world during book reading time, quiet moments and during transitions.  I also will encourage group work for students of different backgrounds.  I am a big advocate for arts. Ensuring that my classroom is equipped with paint, crayons and other art supplies that can represent a variety of skin colors is essential.  I love reading out loud and plays, there are many different cultural plays, books and musicals that I can include as a supplement to my curriculum in order to enhance it.  I will also have a reading corner that has a variety of books from different cultures that can help children see differences as well as similarities within ethnics.  Another way to incorporate their backgrounds is to invite parents in to speak to the class in order to share a bit of their history.  In one classroom I observed a bulletin board where they did student of the week.  They put a picture of a child in the middle of the board and there were different things put on the board that told all about that student.  The board included their history, favorite things and family life.  The other students in the classroom were also asked to write something about the student of the week as well.  Not only is this great for cultural awareness it also boosts self-esteem and self-awareness.

  “It’s not enough to say I’m going to treat everyone equally.” (Dr. Goodson, White Privilege Coffee Talk).  Everyone will say that they will treat everyone fairly, including myself.  I am fully aware that a teacher having a preconceived negative notion can greatly hinder a child’s academic progress and self-esteem.  Children will create a more positive association with a teacher if the teacher is engaged, and offering a culturally sound classroom.   By staying abreast of current issues as well as attending cultural in-services and conferences I feel that I can present an open minded and culturally diverse classroom.


A link to an article about Equality in the Classroom:


 A traditional African Folk Tale:


Middle Eastern music for classroom use:


 Great resource for finding culturally diverse books for classrooms:






Celebrate Diversity by Sabrina Bell

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Deculterization is the process of destroying one’s cultural and replacing it with another one. In our history there were four main groups that were targeted Asian Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native American’s. During this course I was able to look more in depth of the effects on how each of these groups were treated. Many of these groups faces some of the same deculturization like changing their physical image, stripped of their culture, name changes, and segregation in school and pubic establishments. Learning about our history made me realize that there are still problems with deculturization in schools today.

Some topics today that are facing discrimination and segregation are different religious groups, sexual orientation, sexual identity, language, and race. Even though issues are still present today I believe it is important to learn from the past and change the future. Kids should be able to celebrate differences within the classroom. Each child should feel safe when attending school show pride of who they are and where they come from.

As a teacher I plan to celebrate these differences and make sure each child is aware that everyone is different but each child is special and is essential part of our classroom, school, and community. I think there are some great ideas out there about how to celebrate diversity and I found a few that I really like. Below is a picture of a back to school activity where the children are able to color hand prints  and they are put together with a quote “we are each beautiful and unique, but together we are a masterpiece.” I also will use a family board where children can show and share pictures and facts about  their unique family.


Shifting the Focus Back to Students: By Kylie Birney

As a future teacher I have always wanted to ensure that my students meet their full potential. However with the increase of standardized testing, this task can become more difficult. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that a common theme throughout this course has been the shift of focus from the students themselves to their standardized test scores. Although I have only read one book for this class entitled Why We Teach Now, I plan on reading the books that my classmates read as well. From my readings, and the book circle posts of my classmates, it is evident that each book wants the focus of education to be on the knowledge and growth of the students and not just “teaching to the test.” So, how can we individualize learning when so much time is spent on material that student’s will be tested on? Luckily there are teachers who have been able to get creative with their curriculum and still do their best to focus on the minds of their students.


One example that I got from Why We Teach Now is the importance of family and culture in the classroom. By getting to know a student on a deeper level outside of the classroom, you can enhance the learning process in the classroom. I want to follow the lead of the teachers in this book by inviting family members of students into the class as guest speakers when our topic relates to their occupation or an aspect of their life. Not only will my student’s get to learn more about their classmates’ families, but they also get a real life perspective on the topic we are discussing. I think this will help keep them interested and encourage class participation.


In my research to find other ways to incorporate student culture into the classroom, I have found the idea of a culture map. I want to place a world map on the wall of my class and each student can draw a picture of themselves and link it to the country from which they came. All students will get to do a project in which they can research more about their country and share their findings with the class. I believe that by letting my students know that their family and culture is important to me and to their fellow classmates, we can establish meaningful relationships that will continue after they leave my classroom.

Behaviorism In the Classroom: By Kylie Birney

I have learned more in this class the past three weeks than I ever thought possible. One of the concepts that we read about in class that really stuck out in my mind is that of behaviorism in the classroom. Behaviorism is the belief that the way people act and behave is a direct result of external stimuli. As we read in class, this philosophy focuses less on the curriculum and more on the teaching materials and methods the teacher uses. I like this concept because I am a firm believer in the idea of rewarding students for doing well and recognizing their achievements. Likewise, I think consequences are important when a student doesn’t follow directions or displays bad behavior. As a future teacher, it is very important to me that the proper behavior be demonstrated in my class. I feel that by utilizing this concept in my classroom I can better enhance the focus of my students.


In my future classroom I want to implement a “bravo board” into my classroom. Students will be arranged into groups of four and this will be their team. Each week groups will have the opportunity to get points for their team for good behavior, by doing good deeds and by working as a team. At the end of the week, points will be counted and the group with the most points will be eligible for a free homework pass on an assignment of their choosing. This will allow them to opt out on one homework assignment. I believe this will not only encourage good behavior, but will also incorporate the importance of teamwork and relying on others.


I realize that every student is different and the way they react to certain things will differ as well. I will give my students strict guidelines on what is expected of them in my classroom. I believe that posting the classroom rules in a place visible to them will be a constant reminder for the students to follow directions.


Behaviorism: To Do or Not To Do That is the Question.

Behavior, how important is it to a classroom? One of the most important aspects of being a teacher is how you manage your classroom. Through behaviorism I learned a few things on how to maintain and enforce proper behavior. It is important to set forth the rules, consequences, and reward system up front so students know what is expected of them. As educators we must remember how  important it is to reinforce the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. When students can experience rewards and celebration for doing the right things they are more likely to repeat these behaviors. Vice versa if their is a negative behavior that they need to stop they are more likely to do so when the consequence is something that they do not enjoy. It is important to remember when dealing with behavior that every student is different. Things that would cause one student to be unhappy and redirect their behavior may not be the same for the next student. The key is to get to know your students and do whatever works best for them individually.

One great way to set the expectations for your students is by having them sign a student behavior contract. Having both the student and parent sign this document at the beginning of the school year lets them know what is expected of them up front and can be pulled out as a reminder of their agreement when things are not going well. Here is a website that can be used as a tool to help with this :  http://www.toolsforgreatteachers.com/tier-two-behavior-rti-student-contract

Another tool is by using behavior charts in the classroom. A visual reminder is a good way to keep the students involved as well as aware of where they stand. It is also a good idea to have the classroom rules and expectations posted somewhere so that the students can see and remember what it is they agreed to. The more interesting the posting the more likely the student is to pay attention to it. The following are some examples of behavior charts and rule postings that I think are eye catching.

images                 images (2)         2eb916ecb9b4d4885ac557ba17ac57f0         rules

Who is this education really for? by Rhea Rollins

In many of my classmates posts about the books they read for our book circle and other course materials I noticed a common them which was Student-Centered Teaching. This is linked to making sure the methods in which you choose to teach and conduct your classroom is geared towards the learners. There were examples given throughout the course on how education has began shifting from a teacher centered education to focus on the students, their individuality and how that may affect their learning. It is vital that we as teachers make sure the students are learning and preparing for life in the real world in our classrooms. In my future classroom I plan to use the students input about themselves to better implement lessons that they can relate to and learn from. I will have the students share information about themselves through a star student system where each student gets to share information about themselves, likes, dislikes, home life, etc to the class. This will give me the opportunity to learn about the students and try to fit the lessons to their individual needs. I also plan to discuss with the families what they think the students areas of strength and weakness are in attempts to best meet the children where they are. After all who are we trying to benefit with this education system, the students or the teachers. Why shouldn’t it be geared towards who it is created to benefit?

This link is a resource website for assisting with creating an identity safe classroom:   http://identitysafeclassrooms.org/resources

This video is an introduction to Student Centered Learning: https://vimeo.com/12666147





Now Trending in Education by Sabrina Bell

There is a very detailed machine working in my head about how many topics I could talk about after taking this course. One reoccurring theme I noticed throughout this course was the use of technology in the classroom. The book I read The One World Schoolhouse  was all about one guy, Salman Khan, and his journey, experiences, and visions with changing the way our school system works with technology bring integrated  and used as a tool in the classroom.

Technology is scary for some because it is newer and I believe that just recently the overall view has changed from technology is just a time filler to distract the children to that it is a tool that can be used in the classroom that helps the children become mastery learners. 

I have so many great ideas with bringing technology into the classroom but I needed to get a bigger sample size of how to do that. I am currently a early childhood childcare provider so the elementary school world is foreign to me. When I first opened I didn’t allow the children to use the Ipad or watch television but over the years I realized how useful the Leappad, Leapreader, and Ipad they could be  if used correctly.  My husband is a high school teacher so I was able to bounce ideas off of him of what is realistic and how he is able to use different technology tools in the classroom right now. Although new apps and programs are very useful in the classroom. I believe these programs should be used in addition the material taught in class instead of fully relying on technology for an entire lesson. 

When I am in the classroom, It will be trial and error to find what works for each class each year.   I will try to flip some of my lessons and have them watch videos and introduce topics at home and then while in class I will be there for assistance while the work more in depth learning about the lesson. I will also play around with Khan Academy and free online source to help students learn at their own pace and have extra practice in areas they may be struggling with. 



Deculturalization: Happening Then and Now – by: Lisa Chapas

One of the main concepts that we talked about during the last 3 weeks that I found very interesting was about our history with deculturalization.  Deculturalization is the process of getting rid of a people’s culture and replacing it with a new one.  There are 4 main groups of people this has targeted:  African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Mexican Americans.  I was very disturbed that our country thought so little of other cultures, especially since the European people came to this country to find freedom from oppression.  How ironic that we then oppress other groups of people coming to this country whom are seeking the same freedom.  It saddens me when I read about Native Americans and the boarding schools that literally stripped these people of their culture.  They were forced to change their names, cut their hair, and change their clothing so that they would look like Europeans.  With each of the other three groups, they did some of the same things, stressing the Colonial way of life as being the correct and only way.  Many don’t realize that some of these same things continue to happen even to this day.  Segregation and academic tracking in schools are both types of deculturalization.  We continue telling people that they are not good enough because they don’t look or talk like ‘us’.

While this is very upsetting, the good news is that there are teachers that are willing to stand up and say this is wrong.  When I become a teacher, I plan to teach my students about and respect all cultures.  I want my students to feel that their heritage is important and that they should be proud of who they are.  I want to emphasize historical characters of different cultural backgrounds and how they shaped society and the world for the better.  I will dedicate a space in the classroom where students can share pictures of family and cultural events.  I also want to celebrate a different country every month and talk about how that culture contributes to the wonderful melting pot we are today.  Through a celebration of our differences, I want to help my students grow into well rounded and educated citizens.

I have learned a lot about the history of our country in this class.  While we can’t change our past, we can learn from it, and hopefully not make the same mistakes in the future.  Now that I am more aware of concepts such as deculturalization, I will do my best to not be a part of the problem, but rather part of the solution.

The following link talks further about modern-day segregation in America’s public schools-

Modern-Day Segregation in Public Schools

Progressivism: A Great Change for Education – by: Lisa Chapas

Education philosophies are the very foundation of education.  Each has its own style, purpose, and benefits.  I have learned a lot about the various philosophies of education over the past 3 weeks.  Of these, progressivism is the one that stands out the most to me.  Progressivism is a student centered philosophy that focuses on real world problems and real world solutions.  It emphasizes hands-on activities which help to reinforce the subject matter through experiences.  While progressivism in and of itself has great value and benefit, it is only complimented when used in conjunction with aspects of the other philosophies of education.

The means by which a philosophy can be implemented in a classroom are abundant.  They are only limited by the teachers experience, imagination, and ability to articulate their teaching methods.  When I think about my future classroom and how I will implement a progressive philosophy, many thoughts come to mind.  With each subject comes a flood of great ideas.        For example, I view science as one of the best subjects where hands-on activities can be implemented.  Some of the activities I hope to engage my students in include planting seeds and watching and documenting their growth.  Studying lifecycles by watching tadpoles grow into frogs and caterpillars turn into butterflies are also excellent learning activities.  In math, we will play math related games that allow the children solve problems related to real life situations.  For language arts, I will implement reading clubs that involve the children in a number of ways.  At the beginning of the year, students will help select books for our reading list.  Children will then be divided into smaller ‘reading-club’ groups.  These groups will meet weekly and students will be encouraged to share with their group what they have been reading.

These are just a few examples of the ways I plan to implement a philosophy of progressivism into my future classroom.  If you would like to learn more about progressivism and how it could benefit your classroom, check out the links below.

Progressivism: Overview & Practical Teaching Examples

Five Steps to Create a Progressive, Student-Centered Classroom


Why are you so ornery? Behavorism. By: Joshua Snyder

I am the father of  a four month old and a two year old– and in my house it is all about behaviors. I do not think I have said “No.” and “Stop That.” more than I have the past year. Boundaries seem to be the hot topic in this household. To be honest, I wouldn’t change my ornery boys for the world. Parenting and teaching behaviors is very similar to teaching behaviors in the classroom.

Every person is driven by a behavior, in the classroom if we do not set boundaries the behaviors will control the room. Behaviorism is based off of the foundational “belief that human behavior can be explained by the response to external stimuli (Perez, 2016).” When implementing this philosophy in the classroom teachers can shape student behavior by teaching them behavioral expectations. If the students do not have a good understanding of what is okay and what is not, it will be a year to remember. Or one to forget. Students will need to be taught these expectations and be reminded of them daily. Rome was not built in a day and neither is the classroom environment.

I plan to use the theory of behaviorism to develop and implement my classroom management plan. The students will be taught the expectations, reminded of them frequently, and have them modeled if needed. The one area of special focus will be transitions. If the students do not understand the transition expectations–the amount of educational time lost will rack up quickly. A whole year of curricular pacing will be lost if transition times are not executed quickly and efficiently.

Transition Support Video for PreK (the techniques can be used in any K-6 classroom): https://youtu.be/SfvW3TKKAco

Strategies for First Year Teachers: Transitions: https://youtu.be/iAb52YB-50Y