Thursday, December 6, 2018

What's new this year #2: Positive adjectives

If you know me or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that diversity, inclusion, and social justice are as important to me as comprehensible input.

There are so many ways that these two passions meet and I am so grateful for the privilege to think hard and try to eliminate bias and use inclusive pedagogy in my teaching.  I am grateful to my colleagues and friends who want to talk about bias, and to the university (where I am an adjunct teaching a Methods course) for providing training and support in deconstructing bias and being more inclusive.  I just finished reading "Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria" and my mind is racing with ways I can bring some of the things I learned into my classroom.

In the meantime, while I cogitate, I want to share one thing that I changed this year that has had a HUGE impact on classroom culture and teaching.

Years ago, I attended a workshop presented by Elevate Education Consulting (Anna Gilcher and Rachelle Jackson) about how to be more inclusive and reflect positive values through TPRS stories.  It was life-changing, and I have continued to attend workshops and presentations by this amazing duo.  One of their handouts includes a list of diversity-positive attributes.  (This is *not* the link that will take you to the most updated version, but it is all I could find!)

Although I had the list by my side, I never made it visible to the kids.

This year, I decided to buy a $3.00 window shade from a home decor store (bad call, should have paid more as it falls constantly, but it works!) and write out the adjectives with their definitions (in light blue because that was the only blue sharpie I could find).

What I have seen:
The students ask for me to pull the shade down when we do birthday compliments.
They have started using the words even when I don't have it visible.
Our TPRS stories are kinder, more inclusive, and more real.

This was *so* simple.  But I think it makes things nicer!

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