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January 2018
VABBing with Mindset

Mindset Reflections - Can I Measure Students' Level of Situational Appropriateness?

In the spirit of if you cannot beat them, join them, there are ways of measuring your students' level of situational appropriateness. We educate in a time when if it cannot be "assessed", then it is not worth teaching (supposedly). Unfortunately, aspects of cultural responsiveness have fallen under the evaluation and assessment guillotine. In reality, there are ways to assess the goals of CLR, specifically as it applies to how your students are developing and evolving in their ability and willingness to practice situational appropriateness (SA). Before delving into the assessment of SA, here is the definition of situational appropriateness:

"The concept of determining which cultural or linguistic behaviors are most appropriate for a situation. In other words, students are allowed to make choices around cultural and linguistic behaviors dependent on the situation, but without giving up or sacrificing what they consider to be their base culture or language. Situational appropriateness is the crux of CLR."

We want students to know where they are in their situational appropriateness and we want to know how to guide, support, and teach students to be situationally appropriate based on the data. Thus, The Situational Appropriate Scale is a reflective tool for teachers and students to use to consider next steps for addressing issues that may arise. The rubric has four levels.

Achieving Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language

Practicing Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language

Developing Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language

Struggling with Situationally Appropriate Behaviors and Language


The difference in the levels is in large part related to the number of contexts and situations that the students have successfully practiced situational appropriateness.  These could range from the classroom, to the hallways, to the playground, to the cafeteria. Then, a variety of behaviors, such as voice level, communality, high/low movement, conversational patterns, are then examined in these various situations. For a full description of the scale, go to our text, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success, 2nd Edition.

When using the Situational Appropriateness Scale in classrooms, teachers should consider not only the grade level of the students but the implicit and explicit messages students are receiving about behaviors, whether from school, the community, or the media.

As always, you must start with validation and affirmation to ensure students know that they are not being asked to compromise their home culture in any way. As you begin the lessons on situational appropriateness, all dialogue about behaviors and languages must occur without judgment. Students should not be made to feel as if their home culture is beneath, less, or lower than school culture.

The overall point here is we can assess what it means to be validating and affirming for teachers and students.


January  #BeYou
Focus Behavior:

Relational is a deep, nuanced, and hard to delineate cultural behavior. Relational is best explained as multi-directional or non-linear in regards to thought processes, relationship orientations, and goal attainment. The traditional school culture leans toward  linear ways of being, including how students think, problem solve, and communicate with others. For some students, this over dependence on linearity can be disconcerting. Validating and affirming relational allows for multiple directions, perspectives, and outcomes sometimes.

November #BeYou Focus Behavior: Spontaneity

October #BeYou Focus Behavior: Communalism

September #BeYou Focus Behavior: Kinesthetic or Movement

August #BeYou Focus Behavior: Socio-centrism

See the skillset section of this issue for activities that validate and affirm relational and for when students can #BeYou. See our website for the #BeYou campaign.

January 2018 Mindset Knowledge Builder:

Click Image for link
VABBing with Skillset

#BeYou  - Relational Style

Do you have non linear thinkers? Do you have students that shine through relationships?  Where are you on the Relational Continuum?  Where do your students fall? #Relational!

By Gina Spoo, CLR Instructional Coach



Somebody Who

*A responding protocol that personalizes the reason the student is called on to respond.  It helps students make connections with each other and build relationships while holding students accountable!



  • “Somebody Who… has more than one pet stand.”  Students get a chance to share a bit about their pets and then are asked to answer the question.

  • “Somebody Who... went to a movie this weekend please stand.”  Students share briefly what movie they went to and then answer the question at hand.

  • Other ideas to use:  colors students are wearing, types of shoes students are wearing, favorite things (artists, video games, foods, etc.), vacations, etc.


Who’s the Stray

*A discussion protocol that definitely supports non linear processing.  A protocol that allows students to support each other and have fun while doing it!  When a topic needs the thinking of all groups put together, build in this protocol for students to move to other groups, spy and collect information and bring it back to support their own group. 


I Got This! + I Got This Slides + I Got This 1st Grade Video I Got This Sample Questions (4th Grade Math and 6th Grade Math) + I Got This Recording Sheet

*A discussion protocol that supports teamwork, camaraderie, and classroom community.  A protocol that allows students to support each other and have fun while doing it!  This is a great protocol to use to review for tests, practice skills already been taught, dig deeper into texts, etc.  Everyone can be the team captain and that person helps keep everyone on track, helps those that are stuck or even gets help from others if stuck themselves.  No one moves on until everyone is on the same page!  Plus, groups celebrate each correct answer with a high energy, group determined cheer.  Whether you teach 1st grade or 10th grade, I Got This! is a protocol you need to add to your CLR toolbox today!

Finally…  As you are planning your instruction, use these activities to VA relational students.  While these activities VA your relational kids in particular, they also support other cultural behaviors such as:  sociocentrism, spontaneity, and immediacy.   In addition, they help build trust, relationships, community and a fun learning environment that is sure to increase engagement.

Let’s hear from you!

Share about it with #BeYou  #SpontaneityStyle  @validateaffirm on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Can you spot the Relational Strategies in this CLR Instructional Video from Maplewood MS?
Click on the Image below

Responsive Non-Fiction

NEW BLOG POST on Responsive Reads with CLR Lesson Ideas

Letter from Birmingham Jail
by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


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