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Final Reflection: My Dream Multicultural Classroom

Final reflection for EDU 481
by

Tiffany Schmittel

on 13 December 2012

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Transcript of Final Reflection: My Dream Multicultural Classroom

Final Reflection: A Multicultural Classroom In Education, The Sky's the Limit! What is a multicultural classroom? What does it look like? Does this mean if I have a class full of only one race of children I teach them only things that pertain to their life experiences? In my mind, I have thought about these issues so many times. I remember a question asked from an interview I went on where they asked what would my classroom look like if I had a unlimited budged? So I'm going to pretend that's exactly what I have.
I will start with the neighborhood I teach in which is Chicago Heights and this will be my point of reference. My actual Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms are diverse and both have ELL students. I'm going to also use my Head Start experience to help me when thinking of families that come from varied backgrounds. "I will be thoughtful about how I assign homework." Paul Gorski's "20 Things I Can Do to be a Better Multicultural Educator" was interesting to read through. The first one that stopped me was assigning homework. Not all of my students have computers and internet (although some of them claim to have IPAD's) and not some of them don't have scissors or glue to complete assignments. However, they're also other variables I'm dealing with. Some students are in before and after care and they are exhausted. Others have therapy at home that takes time from homework. Some families don't speak English and cannot help their children with their homework. There are students are shuffled in between homes, papers are lost as well as communication. I also have families that are not able to help their students complete their homework because of their own level of education or their lack of organizational and time management skills. These things can apply to any classroom, but if I'm not aware of it, the student is suffering and I'm just frustrated. Combating Homework Issues * I offer materials for students to take home when needed
* I don't give homework that requires a computer or internet
* I'm lucky to have access to computers and a SMART table
to help students build their technology skills
* I work with students during the day one on one to help with
skill building and missing homework assignments
* I send home written information in Spanish when necessary
* I utilize older siblings for support and communication
* I'm available as much as possible for parents, send out notes and
newsletters to work together, and even have multiple folders for
families that are separated
* I try to remind myself of where each student is coming from so
I know when to help them and when to push them "I will focus on each student's needs and interests." Every teacher should make sure they're doing this, regardless of how multicultural the classroom is. This is one of the first things we learn. I find with the more experience I gain, it becomes easier and more natural to incorporate student's interests as well as meet their individual needs. Even though it's my first year at my current school, I'm lucky to have a group of teachers and staff that know the returning families and help me with getting to know them. I find it's helpful to learn about a family's background, if mom and dad are together, how many siblings they have, and where they went previously so I can have an idea where they're coming from. By using student's ideas, interests, and background knowledge they are able to connect ideas, feel their thinking is important, and build on new information. By focusing on each student's needs I'm making sure I'm holding them accountable on their own level of development. I'm able to help them with issues they have as well as promote their learning in ways that will help them comprehend information according to their learning style. How do I manage individualization? * I listen to the students during discussions and when they're
talking among themselves
* We have a jar for journal ideas that each student contributes
to and we also have free journal days to promote individual
creativity
* I assess student's abilities through a variety of materials,
including daily anecdotal notes
* I keep and encourage open communication with families and ask
questions, call home, or schedule conferences when necessary
* I use student's ideas and interests in lesson planning and also
have a go-with-the-flow philosophy if conversations and interests
take us in a new direction and build upon those ideas
* I incorporate families as much as possible and have a question
of the day to encourage each student to participate in sharing
their life, ideas, thoughts, etc.
* We have a book vote every day where the students vote on
which book we will read that day (including mystery book vote!) "I will promote a multicultural
curriculum all year long." This is something I've always wanted to do since my Montessori roots.
I learned to appreciate culture and individualization through my first teaching experience out of college. Head Start also encourages multiculturalism and multilingualism. This is not because it's the latest fad, it's because it's so important to expose young children to different cultures and people so they can grow up with eyes of acceptance and tolerance. It also challenges us as educators to make sure we are incorporating different cultures throughout lessons and not just during certain times of year. Although that should not deter us from celebrating holidays and important dates. I enjoy the challenge because I'm learning things myself about cultures and how to break down information to teach it to my students. Having multicultural curriculum gives students a change to include their own families, ideas, experiences, and feelings into our work. This also helps teachers think about their own views on culture, race, and groups of people so that we are not judging, shunning, or unintentionally creating walls of criticism. Chicago Heights view from Chicago Road.
People who live here call it 'The Heights'. SMART table Including a little piece of everyone * I utilize my Spanish speaking and writing skills as much as possible to not only
expose students to a different language and help my Spanish speaking students,
but also to keep up my skills
* I look for books that have the faces of my students and represent them, their
families, and their experiences to include with lessons
* I challenge my own thinking and work on web research for resources on what
other teachers are incorporating in their own classrooms
* I make sure to preview the lessons so I can change any necessary items that
may offend my students or things they may not understand
* I promote my thinking that multiculturalism is a GOOD thing and talk to other
teachers about what I'm learning
* I challenge myself to not only celebrate holidays and dates, but to talk about
culture throughout my lessons and given facts and stories when they relate to
our topic
* I allow students to question each other and myself so we can discover why we
think a certain way and to value each other's opinions
* We discuss respect in all forms and supporting one another In my opinion, sometimes what you don't see is what matters. My classroom is not filled with posters or sayings. Instead it's peaceful, welcoming, and inspirational. The following pictures will show the classroom I aspire to have . . . Library Area is cozy and
full of reading materials. Centers are individualized and
self correcting. Home made
ones are the best! Pictures and words in are different
languages. Globe is used frequently for
reference. Art is open-ended and promotes
individual creativity Social studies includes multicultural history
and relevant information for students. Books for my library Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes
by James Dean and Eric Witlin
Why? Because no matter what Pete steps in, he keeps on walking and knows everything is groovy. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox and Leslie Staub
Why? Because it doesn't matter where you come from or what you look like, everyone has love in their heart to share. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Why? Because a child's name is important and so is sharing a part of you with your friends. The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko
Why? Because everyone should be proud of their skin and accept each other's skin. The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah
Why? Friends are a huge part of school life. Best friends have a fight over a sandwich but end up learning about each other and accepting their differences. Citations Gorski, P. (2010). 20 Things I Can Do to be a Better
Multicultural Educator.
Book cover pictures
www.amazon.com
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