RLTA Study Group: Walt Disney Magnet School


School: Walt Disney Magnet School
Text: This year we read Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond.
Study Group Members: Caroline Mahon (2nd Grade Teacher), Mary Bush Port-Ginn (4th Grade Teacher), Aletha Edwards (2nd Grade Teacher), Melissa Albarran (School Librarian)
Goal: Incorporating culturally responsive teaching into literacy instruction and pedagogy.

Some highlights about the book from our group discussions:

I like how she keeps returning to turning dependent learners into independent learners. The author also emphasizes how the cognitively rich will get cognitively richer while the cognitively poor will get cognitively poorer.

“Struggling of any kind can trigger an amygdala hijack” (133)

“Story-ify the Content” is something I have already been doing in classes and I have been striving to pull in stories that de-center western-european texts.

One idea I had was to have students unmute to give their daily affirmations for the day. I also like the idea of having students show responsiveness culturally by doing actions to show understanding (i.e. turn your camera on if you like something. Or have students stand if they like something). Etc.

I appreciate the final tie-in to how the environment, both physical and cultural and routine based, , impacts learning. IN the end, we are trying to create independent, curious and connected kids.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

A bold, brain-based teaching approach to culturally responsive instruction

The achievement gap remains a stubborn problem for educators of culturally and linguistically diverse students. With the introduction of the rigorous Common Core State Standards, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement and facilitating deeper learning

Culturally responsive pedagogy has shown great promise in meeting this need, but many educators still struggle with its implementation. In this book, Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain-compatible culturally responsive instruction.

The book includes:

*Information on how one’s culture programs the brain to process data and affects learning relationships

*Ten “key moves” to build students’ learner operating systems and prepare them to become independent learners

*Prompts for action and valuable self-reflection

With a firm understanding of these techniques and principles, teachers and instructional leaders will confidently reap the benefits of culturally responsive instruction.

Walt Disney Magnet School RLTA Showcase 2020-21