You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you are committed to validating and affirming your students, colleagues, parents, and community culturally and linguistically. You are a contributor to the CLR Community. Thanks for VABBing.

April 2017
VABBing with Mindset

Be You Campaign

By Dr. Sharroky Hollie, Executive Director, The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learniing

Late winter and spring are my favorite seasons of the CLR year because I am visiting schools and observing CLR instruction. As a teacher of teachers, I get to see how my students are infusing CLR into their daily instructional practices and how schools are implementing changing mindsets around being more culturally and linguistically responsive to all students. In short, I have a chance to check in on their VABB status.

This year, a developing theme has been this: how are schools/classrooms validating and affirming the students' cultural behaviors in the instructional context without having to "codeswitch"? The explicit validation and affirmation of students around their cultural behaviors is the key to your successful CLRness. VAing your students triggers building and bridging, and by extension your students’ buy-in to being situationally appropriate. Your VA has to be intentional and purposeful;consistent and authentic; proactive and reactive (use teachable moments).

When do your students have the opportunity to be who they are in the instructional context? BeYou is the acrostic that I am using to stimulate educators to be conscious about planning for students to keep their cultural and linguistic behaviors as assets in school and not turn them into liabilities. BeYou, the acronym, is the creation of Carrie Eicher, assistant principal in the North St. Paul, Maplewood, Oakdale School District and it stands for:





U-Unique way

BeYou as a concept is a challenge to us all to ensure that students can be who they are at school. It is a direct rebuttal to the often used SLANT posters and protocol that has become so ubiquitous in schools. SLANT stands for Sit up tall, Listen, Ask questions, Nod your head, and Track the teacher. Note that there are many variations of SLANT. We want students to BeYou (VA) and to SLANT (BB) situationally. As it stands now, the use of SLANT is imbalanced when looking through a CLR lens. It proves to be an over emphasis on our students acting a certain way, typically in alignment with the school culture behaviors and expectations. BeYou is not meant to counter this dynamic. It is intended to create more opportunities for structured ways for students to be themselves culturally and linguistically.

Starting now with the hopes of building momentum into the Fall, we want to start a BeYou campaign. How does it work? First, you have to intentionally plan on instructional activities whereby students are utilizing their cultural assets based on the Rings of Culture or the Iceberg Concept Culture. Then, you have to evidence it. Take a picture. Record it. Get student testimonies. Last, send it out via social media - #BeYou and #validateaffirm to  Twitter @validateaffirm. VABB is about both - validating and affirming and building and bridging. Let's make sure we are authentically doing both by allowing our students to be who they are first.


Mindset Knowledge Builder of the Month:

Excellence Through Equity  - Five Principles of Creative Leadership to Guide Achievement for Every Student

VABBing with Mindset
VABBing with Skillset

Authentic April 

By Gina Spoo, CLR Instructional Coach

  • How have you connected culturally with your students this year? What can you do this spring to connect with your students? Check out the CLR Learning Environment Survey along with Ready 4 Rigor’s CLR Environment Observation Guide.

  • Are your students represented in the classroom?  How about in mindset…. Are your students allowed to approach learning in an authentic way?

  • What protocols allow students to be who they are?

  • What community building have you done in your classroom lately that has allowed  you to get to know your students culturally (think Rings of Culture)?   Check out these great Culturally Responsive Community Builders.  It’s spring fever, so time to step back and revisit our purpose and the connections in the classroom.

April Strategy #1 is…

Talk A Mile A Minute

This is a responsive vocabulary activity that supports students’ ownership of words and allows students to be themselves via a student-centered approach which validates and affirms home language, background knowledge, tone of voice, conversational patterns, collaboration and dynamicness.  It is guaranteed to lift the positive energy and vibe in your classroom!  Primary grades can use fewer words.  Get FIRED UP over vocabulary words!



April Strategy #2 is…

Campfire Discussion

This is a great discussion protocol that allows students to approach a conversation in a subjective way.  Like a real chat around a campfire, it allows students to talk freely, agree, disagree, add on to ideas, and sit back and listen.  While there are also many opportunities for building and bridging, it is a great student-centered protocol.


Put these great activities in your plans this spring!

How is the Q + Q + S Formula in your classroom?
Quantity = Naming  the activity
Quality = Understanding the How To of the activity
Strategy = Understanding the purpose and intentions of the activity in regards to VABBing

Build Your CLR Knowledge Base! Click links -

All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning 
4712 Admiralty Way #1141
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list