Key Point 1:
Exploring Culturally Relevant Texts with Kindergartners and Their Families was such a highly impactful read for me. The curriculum structure it presents provides proof that “it can be done!” “It” means, teaching children while respecting their individuality and guiding them through valuable common core concepts.
I have had some classroom experiences where when the day was done I was left with this sinking question, “is this it?” I have felt this after being part of classroom situations that seemed as if the lesson at hand was not meeting the needs of that particular child. I have seen it with math, where a task was obviously so too easy and I have seen it within language lessons where a lesson seemed to be of little relevance to a child, long term or short term. I get the feeling that some lessons are done because from the teacher’s perspective they represent a crucial common core concept, but to the students they don’t seem to relate to anything.
I think there is a danger with common core, with the pressure and expectations of high stakes testing, that a teacher will feel propelled to just go down the list, presenting things that have to be taught, yet without creating meaningful experiences or units of study for the students. I was happy to find that this article quotes Geneva Gay, a hero as far as I am concerned, saying,
“Culturally responsive teaching is defined as using the cultural experiences and perspectives of ethnically diverse students as conduits for teaching them more effectively. This pedagogy is based on the assumption that academic knowledge and skills that are situated within the lived experiences and perceptions of students are more personally engaging as the curriculum becomes meaningful and r...
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... this article reassures us that with encouragement and continued writing experiences children will auto corrected their oversights as they transitions from emergent literacy to fluent literacy. I believe that the power of student motivation should not be underestimated. Children who are invested and excited about their work will learn more, more deeply, than students who are simply following instructions and work for smiley faces and star stickers.
Problem Posing Thought:
The educators who designed the backpack program that was outlined in this article did so, partially because they were trying to bridge the gap between family and school. So here, at the kindergarten level, students were responsible for homework. Do you think kindergarten children should have homework? Do you see any potential negative impacts of this expectation placed on parents or students?
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