Study Group: Centering Student Identity


The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom

Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Study Groups are school-based professional learning communities. Study groups develop a goal to guide their learning throughout the school year, and meet monthly to discuss instruction and push their practice to reach their goal. Learn more about Peterson Elementary School’s study group and what they learned about the components of a balanced literacy program.

School: Mary G. Peterson Elementary School

Text: The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom by Felicia Rose Chavez

Study Group Leader: Megan Fair

Study Group Members: Catherine Jarvis, Megan Wales, Sarah Van Wolvelear, Emily Gandolfi

Goal: To empower students as storytellers whose voices should and need to be heard through centering student identity. This is focused on the text’s writing workshop guidebook through an anti-racist lens.

We found the book to be very eye-opening to how traditional writer workshop (which can be extended to just school in general) embodies white supremacist ideologies and techniques.

To accomplish our goal, we employed teaching strategies and utilized materials that supported students to recognize themselves in the culturally relevant material that we were working with in class and to be advocates for their own learning throughout their education.

This book helped us be more intentionally anti-racist in the way we structure both the lessons and classes with clear intentions. In our discussions, we engaged in dialogue around how to de-center the teacher in the classroom and instead we made sure that we were centering student identity and leaning into their experiences, and expertise as guideposts for our learning.