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March 2018
VABBing with Mindset

Mindset Reflections - Celebrating Holidays with Depth and Inclusivity

Thirty years ago, the gist of what was then called multicultural education was a superficial survey of cultural holidays and celebrations, an honoring of cultural iconic heroes, and a shallow dive into foods, dress, and customs. The overall hypothesis was by learning about each other's cultural differences (holidays, foods, dress, and surface customs) , the society at large would become more tolerant of each other and we would be more accepting of diversity.

In the age of cultural and linguistic responsiveness (CLR), the granddaughter of multiculturalism, the hypothesis is the same but how cultural holidays are celebrated has completely changed, depending on where you are in your journey to responsiveness. Today, for the culturally and linguistically responsive educator, an examination of holidays, heroes, and foods requires in-depth analysis and inclusivity of all perspectives. In other words, being CLR with holidays is the opposite of what we learned 30 years ago.  Using the validate and affirm/build and bridge frame or VABB, there are 5 steps to responsively honoring all holidays.

VALIDATE and AFFIRM - Honor all your students' heritages first. Go to where they are nationally, with religion, and ethnically. Note the following link for non-traditional holidays  that are commonly missed and not celebrated in traditional schooling practices:

  1. Be inclusive of all holidays and celebrations - traditional as well as those representative of diverse cultures. Know your students' cultural backgrounds. Think about the rings of culture, specifically the religion and ethnic rings
  2. Proactively plan to celebrate, acknowledge, and learn about each diverse holiday or celebration throughout the year. Use your students and families' knowledge base because they are the best teachers

BUILD and BRIDGE - Acknowledge the traditional holidays too. Take your students where they will need to be in order to be global citizens (cross-cultural). Note the following holidays/celebrations are considered traditional/mainstreamed: New Years, King Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter,  Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.

  1. Teach the origin of the traditional holidays. Give students research assignments, so that they can learn how these holidays came to be, how they started, and how they have changed or not changed over the years.
  2. Provide an opportunity to discuss varying viewpoints about the holidays. Structure debates, forums, and grand discussions about how different communities may feel differently about certain traditional holidays/celebrations, i.e. Thanksgiving (national, ethnic) or Easter (religious).
  3. Be sensitive to the opt out option if the holiday/celebration goes against the cultural value or principle tied to religion or ethnicity.

Lastly, don't forget to be creative with it, have fun, and celebrate!!!

February #BeYou
Focus Behavior:
Conversational Patterns

Within our families and communities, we conduct conversations differently and much of that difference is rooted in our home language. These differences reveal themselves as conversation patterns around - 

  • when to start talking,
  • talking while someone else is talking
  • how long to talk
  • staying  on topic or veering off topic
  • the tonality of the talking.
All these variables speak to the different conversation patterns your students bring when they come to school. Do you recognize verbal overlap as rude or verbal agility? Do you see being non-linear in discussions as excellent, engaging storytelling or being long winded with no end in sight? Do you consider some of your students passionate with the tone they use to say some things or they are just being loud? In short, do you recognize your students conversational patterns and, if so, when do they have opportunities to converse as who they are, to be them.

February #BeYou Focus Behavior: Conversational Patterns
January #BeYou Focus Behavior: Relational
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 conversational patterns and for when students can #BeYou. See our website for the #BeYou campaign.

March 2018 Mindset Knowledge Builder:

Click Image for link
VABBing with Skillset

#BeYou  - Conversational Patterns

Did you know that jumping-in or over-lap communication in a conversation is viewed as high engagement for many students? It is culturally polite.  Unfortunately, jump-in responses are often viewed as disrespectful in a school setting and students are redirected or penalized for what is viewed by the teacher as interrupting. This cultural misunderstanding is what often results in disengagement, management issues, or office referrals.

When we use instructional juxtapositions in how students communicate in the classroom we can show students that we value their ideas and in the process teach the situational appropriateness that is needed in various areas of the classrooms and in life.

By Gina Spoo, CLR Instructional Coach


  • How do you support jumping-in and overlap in the classroom?  

  • In addition, and just as important, how do you juxtapose activities that support turn-taking?

  • How can you show your students that conversational patterns can take on many forms, they are all good, and we need to be able to code-switch or culture-switch when needed 


#BeYou- Jump-In Style

Basic:  Chime In Shout Outs

*A responding protocol that promotes and values spontaneity and over-lap during direct instruction.  Don’t confuse with a Stadium Shout or teacher-centered choral responding.


  • Best used when responses are one word or short responses

  • Be explicit- Before you ask a question, tell the students the protocol they will use.

  • It is ok for voice levels to be louder- Supports positive energy in the classroom!

  • Uncomfortable when Shout Outs increase the voice level in the classroom?  It’s ok!  That’s engagement!  Many of your students are uncomfortable with hand-raising.  Simply be explicit and explain the purpose.

  • A true Shout Out actually teaches deference and turn-taking when done with precision.

  • If your students are just shouting out without regard to each other, then the purpose and intention needs to be reviewed.

  • If Shout Outs are timed, controlled by the teacher and done in unison, it is more of a Stadium Shout and the purpose is different than a Chime-in Shout Out.

  • FINALLY, when Shout Outs are juxtaposed with a turn-taking responding protocol, such as Hand Raising or Equity Sticks, students are being VABBed and gaining skills to code-switch.  CLR in action!


Basic:   Round Robin Brainstorming

*A responding protocol and discussion protocol that promotes and values spontaneity and over-lap conversations.  When juxtaposed with an independent writing assignment or a responding protocol such as Somebody Who, Roll ‘Em, or Sticks, you are building and bridging students to turn taking situations.


  • Use when you want to get ideas shared quickly.

  • Use when you want to use a low affective filter (less stressful) approach for students to contribute in small groups.

  • Use when you want to support over-lap, sociocentrism, community, and collaboration.


Advanced:  Carousel Brainstorming

*A discussion protocol and movement protocol that supports non linear processing, over-lap, movement, sociocentrism and musicality.  A protocol that allows students to support each other and have fun while doing it!  After viewing the directions via the link provided,  think about where you will use Carousel Brainstorming in your instruction, why will you use it, and how will you hold students individually accountable for the work?  In other words- How will you build and bridge afterwards?  Share with VABBnation @validateaffirm!  

Finally…  As you are planning your instruction, remember to be explicit.  Let your students in on your reasons for choosing protocols.  They shouldn’t be a secret. Your students should be able to tell visitors that enter the classroom the why behind these protocols and activities.

Keep VABBin’! Keep plannin’!

Let’s hear from you!

Share about it with #BeYou  #Jump-InStyle  @validateaffirm on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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