Understanding Students’ Identity: Starting the Year With a Student-Centered Focus

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s book Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy offers many excellent ideas designed to learn about the identities of our students and plan for joyful learning experiences. In this post, I want to highlight some ideas, especially those experiences that are powerful to explore at the beginning of a new school year in order to create classrooms where students feel seen, heard, valued, and loved. When students feel belonging, they thrive and can engage in deep learning. In addition to Dr. Muhammad’s ideas, I will explore ideas I have used with students and that colleagues have shared with me.

“Knowing self prepares young people to live joyfully in the world…. Young people need to know themselves as well as others who may be different from them…. This knowledge teaches young people how to love and live with differences as they grow older.” ~Cultivating Genius

Continue reading “Understanding Students’ Identity: Starting the Year With a Student-Centered Focus”

Joy: I’m a Published Author!

I’ve been writing this blog for two years! Writing is one of the ways I show my creativity and honor my core value of sharing what I have learned with others. One of my dreams has been to be a published author, and that dream came true last week when my first article was published on Edutopia. Today I am celebrating this goal, and looking forward to my upcoming writing projects.

Please check out my article:

Fostering Identity, Joy, and Skill Development


Cultivating Genius: Identity

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad’s Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally Responsive and Historically Responsive Literacy presents background and a tool based on the rich practices of Black Literary Societies of the 1800s. The framework includes 5 Learning Pursuits: Identity, Skills, Intellect, Criticality, and Joy. These pursuits are empowering and connected to the lives of students. They are used to design interdisciplinary unit plans through the use of multi-modal layered texts. Because most traditional unit planning is focused on Skills and Intellect, I am shifting to focus more on Identity, Criticality, and Joy in my planning and coaching. In this post, I will focus on the Learning Pursuit of Identity.

Continue reading “Cultivating Genius: Identity”

Having a Positive Racial Identity

There are many strategies and ideas for developing/deepening identity, in order to be an anti-racist human. This starts with knowing the “Why” and includes developing understanding of the intersections of the different parts of one’s identities. Below find some ideas around identity exploration.

Continue reading “Having a Positive Racial Identity”