Friday, January 30, 2015

Responding to Campano

Campano advocates moving from a deficit model, in which kids are positioned as not having the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are expected and tested; to an enrichment model, where we see kids’ histories, experiences, and locations as assets (pages 14-19).  Can you give some examples of how this could be (or is) put into action in your own classroom environment—in your pedagogy, in your curriculum, in your relationships with kids?


  1. I nod my head in agreement about moving from a deficit model. Of course I want to value students’ histories, experiences, and locations as assets. I start every day with the best intentions of this when I greet my students in the hallway. In homeroom, when I ask about their weekends. In advisory, where we are creating a “Lawn Pays It Forward” movement of service projects brainstormed, designed, implemented, and documented by the students. In Language Arts, when they share stories from their lives that connect to the texts we are reading. When they choose what they want to write about and who they want to write to in their argument letters. When they hack advertisements and songs in order to speak out against inequality. We even work on this as a faculty at our PD sessions using a protocol for reviewing student work that requires us to answer, “What does the student understand about the assignment? About the content? What does the student believe is important? What is the student trying to do?” I love this protocol because it forces you to honor the students efforts and intentions.

    However, I know I am not doing enough. As teachers, we are tasked with improving students’ academic skills and performance. Most often this includes identifying errors and weaknesses. And this can become the way we think about kids and teaching - all of the students that aren’t there yet, all of the things that have yet to be done. There is pressure to collect data and show growth. Because of this, it is so easy to get lost in the numbers and forget that kids are kids. They are people with hopes and dreams and families and worlds of their own. When focusing so much on the future, we disregard the now. The now is where we make connections with kids. The now is when we develop relationships with them. And as Campano implies, only through “cultivating the affective and intellectual bonds that enable students to recognize that they too possess valuable knowledge to bring to bear upon their educational development” will this work be possible.

  2. I feel that I'm lucky in a way. I have very small class sizes. Right now I have a total of 10 students, 5 eight-graders and 5 seventh-graders. As I mentioned in the previous post, I do not have a lot of time with either group. About a total of 2.5 hours of instructional time a week, which is crazy because I used to spend 7-10 instructional hours a week with EACH the 7th and 8th grade classes I taught the last two-year, and a total of 45-50 hours a week at the school.

    I do not feel completely invested in this current position so I makes it hard to connect sometimes. But I do think that I try to get to know my students and create lessons that will engage them. At the beginning of this school year I spent 3 weeks in a mixed classroom with the other math teacher. I was getting to know my way around the school, but couldn't wait to get my students and get my own classroom. When I was finally left with my own students we played games like number about me, and did weekly check-ins. I still love check-ins with my students and it is a weekly class warm-up. I try to also fit logic games into my instruction which students love and we get to chat and share as we play. I try to write word-problems that may connect to my students life, but its pretty hard in math when you're working on something like factory, graphing, and solving quadratic equations to work in their life experiences.

    I would really like to work on using the enrichment model, and work it into my math instruction. It's hard being surrounded by ELA or humanities teachers, which I think is a subject area that just leans its self to the enrichment model. I used to always check with my teacher partner who worked with the same group of 7/8th graders about what was going on because she knew so much more about the students by reading their writing and journal responses. In that regard I am alway jealous of their classroom discussions and debated.... it sorta hard to have a debate or discussion about multiplying integers.

  3. As I was rereading Campano's ideas about moving from a deficit model to an enrichment model, I began to wonder how his theories could apply in a middle class high school such as Cranston West considering his heading is entitled "Back to the Urban Classroom." He mentions the fact that he decides to "integrate the personal and professional by taking a position in the historic Filipino American community in California"(Campano 14). At this time, Campano meets a young girl Guadalupe. He explains that by getting to know her in her home AND school environments, he is fully able to see and understand both of Guadalupe's "worlds" and her distinct roles in each. It is through this deep social understanding that he is able to develop an "experientially mediated knowledge"(15). He comes to value Guadalupe's home life and culture not as a detriment to teaching and learning, but a vital part of their essences.

    To me, this seems like a pretty simple concept. Get to know my students. Make them feel as though they have something to bring to the table. Value diversity in the classroom. In turn, this brings me back to my initial pondering...and solves my initial problem. It doesn't matter that I don't teach in an urban school. Campano's ideas can certainly work in any classroom setting, including a suburban high school such as Cranston West.

    One really great way to break the ice with students is the weekly check in strategy that I've started to use after taking SED 561 last semester with Dr. Bogad. I am amazed at how much I have learned about my students just by "checking in" each Monday. For example, I know that many of my students have part time jobs and where they work. I know one student is an expert horseback rider and she spends most weekends at the barn. I know another one of my students is helping care for her mother who has cancer. It is absolutely amazing how students will open up if you care enough to ask them to do so and if you are sincerely interested in what they have to say. I also think by me sharing parts of my life with my students, they can understand more fully where I am coming from as well. So...yes...I like to think that I am following Campano's enrichment model, although there is always more work to be done!

  4. I feel the power of the “enrichment model” gives students and the teacher to learn from one another. When reading Campano’s ideas, I immediately thought about our school-wide Word Generation topics. Word Generation is a cross-curricular resource where all four content areas explore topics in each class for every day. ELA writes and explore the topics on Monday, Mathematica on Tuesday, Science on Wednesday, Humanities on Thursday, and then back to ELA on Friday.

    Sometimes the topics are topics that are in the media today or are topics that spark a variety of student interests, such as immigration, school uniforms, or teen smoking. These topics offer students the opportunity to listen to each other and explore the stories of others. It is a great way to integrate math with the weekly topic. In Tuesday’s math class, we often explore by talking about the Math Discussion which helps us expand on what we learned in Monday’s ELA, and use statistics and data, to back up the information. This carries over in Science exploration, and a Humanities debate. By the end of the week, students on Friday will be able to write about what they learned using data or statistics, integrate personal stories or experiences from debates. The end result from what we hear from the ELA teachers is amazing. I think listening to the student’s personal sides gives me a better perspective on where they are as 13 and 14 year olds. It connects with how they view the world as a whole, and I can see where they are coming from to see both sides. “What would it mean to learn from the ‘epistemic privilege’ of the students perspective… one of the biggest challenges of urban teachers is to help create an environment in which all children and young adults feel empowered to critically reflect and draw on the realities of their lives” (Campano, 16).

    The conversation does not stop on Tuesday. If the content allows, we can integrate this with a warm-up at the beginning of class or possible word problems that can build on what students are learning. This is only an enrichment program which allows teachers to integrate Common Core with the topics that generate student interests. The stories spill over from week to week or students make connection with other explored topics. It saddens me that I do not get to see the continuity in other classrooms, but the Friday ELA teacher sees the final product from all classes. Students see the continuity which lends itself to deep conversations in the classroom.

  5. Burrillville Middle School is made up of tight, close-knit community members, teachers, students, and families. Teachers frequently cover each others' classes and take time to get to know their own and other students in different settings. I feel lucky to be a part of this faculty, in which students and teachers truly feel that they are part of a community of learners. Although I only have two classes a day, I have gotten to know most of the students in the building. If I take the time now when I am covering a sixth or seventh grade class, by the time the students get to my class in the eighth grade, we will have already built a foundation for a meaningful relationship that will enhance their learning.

    As an ELA teacher, I find myself constantly asking my students to connect to the works we are reading and responding to in our writing. In order for them to make any meaning from texts and new learnings, they have to be able to connect with them. This also allows students to see their own experiences and life stories as important and valued, especially if we take the time to ask and talk to them.


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