Promoting Equity and Inclusion through Community Building

These are my notes for the 3:30 PM workshop on Tuesday, July 24 at the Guided Pathways: Designing for Equity – Rendezvous 2018 conference.

Promoting Equity and Inclusion through Community Building
Shaunie Decker & Heidi Shenenberger, Green River College

From the description: Often the most challenging part of a new quarter is creating classroom community among a group of diverse students. How can we ensure students feel safe and included? How can we embrace this awesome diversity and leverage it so students reach their full potential? Heidi and Shaunie will share ideas and best practices with you so your class can develop into a welcoming learning community. We will demonstrate our  Reading Apprenticeship-inspired methods, and give you time to share your current approaches and develop new ideas resulting from this workshop.

First Week Activities for Community Building

  1. Icebreakers: we did an example ice breaker activity using the card set from
  2. Rights and Responsibilities activity: have the students create a poster at the beginning of the quarter to list their rights and responsibilities in separate columns (e.g. be heard/listen, timely feedback/ do homework, etc.).
    1. This is a way to discuss class expectations
    2. Sets a new tone for students
    3. Gives students a voice
    4. This can be applied to civics and career readiness
    5. Leading by example
  3. Use Quotes on the Syllabus
    1. Used as discussion questions
    2. She used Einstein and Teddy Roosevelt
    3. She then demonstrated a Reading Apprenticeship technique (she interrogates the class on the meaning(s) of the details of the text
    4. A point was made that quotes from Teddy Roosevelt are coming from a person who hated Native Americans
  4. Syllabus should be visually interesting and “interactive”
  5. Icebreaker suggestions from the audience:
    1. Make your own multiple choice question version of “two truths and a lie”
    2. Have students do something together every single day
    3. Scavenger hunts for resources on campus
    4. Food – bringing people together
    5. Asking what do we bring to the classroom to help you learn “Gracious Space”
    6. Tour the campus
    7. Scavenger hunt for people (Who owns a cat?)
    8. Students interview one another
      1. What is surprising about you?
      2. What is interesting about you?
    9. Talk about names and how they got their names and what they mean
    10. Question of the day
      1. First day is “What is your name?”
      2. ESL questions
    11. Name Juggle – the students say their name and toss the ball. The second round there is another ball added until there are 12 balls in the air (you can throw them off by including a stuffed animal)
    12. Pairs make up questions and then surveys the class and present their results
      1. Reading strategies for adult students
      2. Not decoding but problem solving
      3. One reads different texts with different strategies
      4. Students do a book clubWhat is Reading Apprenticeship?
  6. What do you do in your classes to promote equity?
    1. Not being shocked
    2. Native language space
    3. Talking stick
    4. Listening partnerships
    5. Change pronouns
    6. Journal options
  7. More signs on the walls of visual interest with inspiring quotes
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