EDMS 410: Child Growth and Development During the Elementary School Years

Course Activity: Cultural factors impacting children’s development

In this activity, students explore the impact and relationship between biology, early experiences, environment, family culture and first and second language acquisition on child growth, development, and learning. To consider the best ways to create an inclusive classroom culture and context, students use knowledge of these factors to identify strategies that support the development and the learning patterns of all children from diverse familial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Students will learn to recognize children’s learning modalities and explore the difference between learning styles and multiple intelligences.

EDUC 412: Equity, Diversity, and Foundations of Schooling

Course Assessment: Signature Assignment-Equity and Social Justice Framework

In this course, CI students explore how to make public schools more inclusive. We investigate equity and diversity and imagine the ways in which we can make our schools safer places where all students feel valued and nurtured. Toward this goal, at course end, CI students craft a reflection paper in response to this essential question: What is your "Teaching for Equity & Justice Framework"? The paper requires CI students to consider question such as, “What theories about teaching and learning do they see themselves using to explain your pedagogical decisions and actions in teaching for equity and justice?” The goal is for students to leave the course with a clear vision of the kind of classroom and the Teaching for Equity & Justice Frameworks they hope are operationalized for the children in our community.

EDMS 422: Creating and Managing Effective Elementary School Learning Environments

Course Assignment: Teaching Philosophy

The Teaching Philosophy Statement requires students to think about the type of teacher they aspire to be in today’s diverse public schools. Students write about their own experiences in diverse classrooms, the importance of home culture, how they plan to work with diverse families. CI teacher candidates then connect philosophy and practice by considering the concepts of equity and equitable instruction, their significance, and how they plan to make these concepts come alive in their future classrooms. This assignment is a component of the signature assignment which is an inclusive/accessible Google site CI teacher candidates create for their future and prospective k-12 classrooms and students.

EDUC 475: Language in Social Context

Course Assignment: Sociolinguistic Language & Literacy History/Introspection

Marilyn Cochran-Smith wrote, “In order to teach in a society that is increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse, prospective teachers...need opportunities to examine…the tightly braided relationships of language, culture, and the power in schools and schooling.’ This sociolinguistic assignment focuses on the diversity of students’ language and literacy experiences and asks CI students to reflect on their literacy experiences at home, in the community and within k-12 classrooms. Ultimately, the assignment requires CI students to consider critically how they will address issues of language and literacy for English Learner/Emergent Bilingual students in their own future classrooms.

EDMS 522: Literacy 1: Multicultural/Multilingual

Course Activity: Analyzing Books for Racism and Sexism

This activity asks CI students to think and analyze critically how to select books for their future classrooms with positive depictions of the diverse nature of our communities and society. Students analyze children’s books utilizing “10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism”, created by the Council for Interracial Books for Children. Using the framework, students respond to prompts such as: “How are minority roles depicted?” and “Is there sexist language that excludes or diminishes women?” Students reflect and discuss findings in small group discussion and a whole-class debrief. Students use the texts to share both “positive” and “negative” examples of framework elements.

EDMS 523: Literacy 2: Multicultural/Multilingual

Course Assignment: Home Connection Literacy Letter/Newsletter

Students draft a one-page letter written for the parents/guardians of students in their k-12 class. In the letter, they describe how diverse families and stakeholders can support students’ home literacy development. The letter focuses on a literacy skill (comprehension strategies, vocabulary strategies). Students explain the skill in terms understandable for the audience, detail why it is important, and illustrate how the skill can be practiced/supported at home. The letters must also provide parents with bilingual resources (websites, video links) related to the literacy skill. CI students use the letter to encourage and invite families to share examples of their own cultural literacy practices.

EDMS 525: Modern Methods in Mathematics Teaching to Grades K-3

Course Assessment: Signature Assignment-Building on Funds of Knowledge and Ways of Thinking

CI teacher candidates interview a student to explore interests and funds of knowledge. These “funds” are historically/culturally developed knowledge that empower individuals to function in specific contexts, knowledge students embody that can directly connect with classroom learning to create more equitable and inclusive learning spaces. In the interviews, the teacher candidates use what they learn about student thinking and their funds of knowledge to plan differentiated instruction and to initiate two-way conversations with the student’s family and/or caregivers about mathematics. The teacher candidates then use learning trajectories to pose mathematical tasks to their interviewee.

EDMS 526: Modern Methods in Mathematics Teaching to Grades 4-6

Course Activity: Water is Our Right; Water is Our Responsibility!

This activity begins with reading the children’s book We are Water Protectors. Inspired by Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption―a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade. Post reading, CI candidates then estimate their water usage, are given data on water usage, and then calculate their actual water usage. Students create and share plans for how they can be Water Protectors. This soon-to-be-published environmental justice activity aligns with the social justice standards and was co-written by a CI alum and professor.

EDMS 527: History, Social Studies and Integrated Arts

Course Assignment: Storytelling for Social Change

For this assignment, CI teacher candidates teach a mini-lesson to their peers. A mini lesson is a short lesson with a narrow focus that provides instruction in a skill or concept that relates either to lessons or an instructional unit that follows. Candidates choose a children’s book they can use to teach a social studies concept (in history, geography, civics, economics, culture and diversity, etc.) and that connects with ideas of social change/justice and representations of diversity. It could be a book that represents a dominant narrative, or a book that challenges a dominant narrative. Students then lead their peers through activities that either challenge or reinforce the concepts in the chosen text.

EDMS 529: Science, Health and Physical Education

Course Activity/Assignment-Advancing Social Justice using Local Phenomenon to Drive Instruction

Engagement is at its core both an access and equity concept. Students who do not have access to the material or instructional practices in ways that makes sense and are relevant to them are disadvantaged. For this assignment, CI candidates design and implement a Next Generation Science Standards-based unit centered on a local phenomenon. Selecting phenomena students find engaging, interesting, relevant, and consequential helps support engagement. A good phenomenon builds on everyday or family experiences: who students are, what they do, where they came from. Using local phenomena highlights how science helps to explain real world contexts that matter to students, their communities, and society.

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