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Day 2 of the Equity and Inclusion Challenge

it is interesting when you focus your observations, what you discover.  As the challenge implies, I wanted to focus on Equity and Inclusion. At first; inquiry and observation led to more questions.  How would I record what I noticed? How could I teach and observe?  Doubts entered my mind.  What would I really learn?  But staying positive, I persisted.  

I decided to observe while we did our opening grade level assembly, where we co-create the week's homework for the class.

First thoughts included:

Students and teachers both have a voice in this activity.

Students opinions are validated.

Not all students use their voice.

Some students raise their hands.

Some students say what they think.  

Then more questions bubbled up: 

Do students in the front speak more than the ones who chose to sit in the back?  Does seat choice affect participation?  What does equity look like in the classroom?  How can we create more of it? How can we include everyone's voice?  What are the environmental factors we could change? How are the patterns of conversation different with when I teach? Is it different from my teaching partner?  

In the next lesson, my teaching partner led the discussion and I decided to map the conversation. That was interesting. I wondered if taking a map of one day would really show me anything.  So, I planned to keep the maps and map patterns of conversations over time to see bigger patterns. It was the 100th Day of school and we planned a Math lesson using social skills to work in groups to collect 100 items from nature and turn it into a piece of artwork.  

The Day 2 questions and my hypotheses were:

  • What patterns do you notice?

  • Whose voices tend to be the loudest?

  • The kids have multiple options to speak.  Some of the students who volunteer to talk, volunteer regularly. There were a few students, who appeared not to be paying attention, who volunteered insights.  

Conclusions... What I think happens in discussions, may not be as accurate as I think.  Children who appeared not to paying attention, might be. There seemed to be no hard and fast rules.   I look forward to what I might learn tomorrow... Tomorrow's Task:

  • NOTICE: Spend some time observing the physical space at school – in the halls, in classrooms, in shared spaces, in offices. 

Reflection Questions:

  • Who is obviously represented and welcome in the space?  Who is left out?

Yours in passion for education,

Kate O'Connell

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