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August 2017
VABBing with Mindset

Why Students Need #BeYou

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

For those who deeply understand cultural responsiveness, a query should arise for you eventually. When do your students have the opportunity to be who they are culturally and linguistically during the instructional day (as opposed to recess, lunch, and PE)? If you are earnestly practicing responsiveness, then you are dutifully giving your students opportunities for situational appropriateness through validating, affirming, building and bridging. You are talking to them differently, you are leveraging their cultural assets to build and strengthen your relationships with them, and you are teaching them differently (skillset). At some point, though, you want the focus to be validate and affirm and NOT build and bridge. You want moments when the students can be themselves culturally and linguistically…just because they can and it is celebrated as a contribution to their learning affectively (connectedness) and effectively (achievement). Students being themselves culturally and linguistically is the essence of the #BeYou Campaign.

BeYou as a concept is a challenge to you to ensure that there are times when your students can be who they are during instruction. It is an alternative narrative to the often used SLANT posters and protocols that have 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.

The beginning of this school year officially kicks off our #BeYou Campaign and it starts with you:

  1. Intentionally plan on instructional activities whereby students are utilizing their cultural assets based on the Rings of Culture and/or the Iceberg Concept Culture.
  2. Evidence it. Take a picture. Record it. Get student testimonies.
  1. Send it out via social media - #BeYou, @validateaffirm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube

The recommendation is that you focus on strictly validating and affirming a specific cultural behavior for a period of time - one to three weeks - and  use your skillset or CLR Toolbox to attach activities to the selected behavior. Just validate and affirm!

Each month this year, I will suggest a behavior to focus on based on behaviors that are the most likely to be misunderstood. In the skillset section of VABB Perspectives, there will be suggested activities tied to that behavior. The activities will be divided by basic (anybody can do it), advanced (requires mindset, which means intent and purposeful use around culture and language, and premium (includes the mindset piece plus multiple steps and more preparation to do successfully).

August #BeYou Focus Behavior: Socio-centrism

Description: the act of social interaction is more valued than the content being discussed; expectation of non-linear discourse patterns. Learning better by talking, socializing.

Common Misunderstanding: Off task, distracting, disruptive, not focused, talkative, or chatterboxes.

Rings of Culture: Gender, Age, and Ethnic

See the skillset section of this issue for activities that validate and affirm socio-centrism and for when students can #BeYou.

VABBing with Mindset

August 2017 Mindset Knowledge Builder:

VABBing with Skillset

#BeYou  - Socio-Centric Style

By Lydia McClanahan, CLR Instructional Coach

The beginning of the school year is rife with opportunities for students to be engaged  in instructional activities that let them # BeYou. Kick off your school year and the BeYou campaign with some of the following strategies:

Get to Know Your Students and Build Classroom Community with Socio-Centric Strategies



Think - Pair - Share  + Pick a Stick (binder pg. 67/62)

Sample Prompts
  • What did you like best about your summer break?
  • What are you looking forward to this school year?
  • If you were going to appear on America's Got Talent, what would your talent be?             

Post Your Thoughts (binder pg. 62)
Sample Prompts
  • How do you learn best?
  • What things do you struggle with most?
  • What are your goals for this school year?
  • How can you make a positive contribution to this classroom?
Thinking on Your Feet (binder pg. 97)
    Sample Prompts 
  • Watching T.V. or Listening to music?
  • Novels or comic books?
  • Working alone or working with others?
  • Being in charge or following directions?
  • Early bird or night owl


Practice Routines and Deliver Instruction with Socio-Centric Strategies

Use the following strategies to - 
  • Review rules/classroom expectations
  • Assess prior knowledge/make connections to content
  • Review salient points from lectures/direct instruction
  • Introduce new concepts and vocabulary

Turn & Talk (binder pg. 61)


Tea Party or Meet 'n' Greet (binder pg. 96)


Turning Wheels (binder pg. 68)

As you are planning instruction, think about which students have behavior that you might be misunderstanding.  Who are the ones you say are off-task, distracted, disruptive, not focused, talkative or chatterboxes?   Pick one or more of the  strategies above and let them be uniquely themselves!  Share using  #BeYou @validateaffirm on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Click the image below to see Castro Valley USD VABBing socio-centric behavior with Turning Wheels!


Order YOUR #BeYou Poster now at

Responsive Reads - August 2017

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