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When we erase a person's cultural identity what are the consequences

on the classroom community?

Cultural Customs Similarities and Differences

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Elements of Culture Student Definition

Describing Unique Cultural Customs

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Representing Dominant Culture with Symbols and Words

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How my culture looks different from another person's culture

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Representing Cultural Customs Symbolically 

Cultural Customs 

Sorting Cultural Customs by Similarities and Differences

In this exercise students were asked to sort the cultural customs into similarities. Three students cultural customs were randomly left out of the exercise.  They were then asked to find their cultural custom and discuss with their small group how they were similar and different. The three students who did not have their cultural customs represented in the group had very different reactions.  We discussed in whole group: 

What do you think the consequences are if we do not learn about a person's culture in a classroom community?

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How can the differences we have with others inform our cultural identity?


What is the connection between culture and history?

Students Reflections: 

Students examined The Pulitzer Center journalist Zahara Ahmad story of returning home after cultural erasure.

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Student Reflection:

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"I felt sad because she had to hide herself."--M.

How is Historical erasure violent?

In this exercise students  grouped their cultural symbols (created in a previous lesson) into categories.  Three symbols were randomly removed without the students knowledge.  

S.--"Reunion belongs with RELATIONSHIPS WITH ELDERS the last reunion was the last time we saw my Great Grandma she died on September 6th."

K.--"The flags belong in COMING TOGETHER because all the same in the culture are represented."

S.--"RIP does not belong in HOLIDAYS because Day Dead is imagining the people who passed as coming back to life."

L.--"RIP belongs in HOLIDAYS it represents Halloween."


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We brought the symbols together to discuss the meaning of classroom community.  

When asked, "can we consider this a definition for classroom community?"  A student said no because he noticed another students cultural symbol was missing.  The students who also did not have their symbols included spoke up as well.  

Student--"All the pieces are not there.  L. had a Red Cross and it is not there."  

L.-- "Mine is not there.  I feel sad.  Mine isn't important."

G. --"Mine is not there and it feels bad because I don't feel like I am part of the classroom."

K. --"Mine is not there.  I feel sad like someone forgot."

L.-- "Mine is not there it makes me feel sad like I don't deserve it."

Student--"My culture is from El Salvador and sometimes El Salvador people get left out.  It makes me feel sad.  My family lives there.  People leave them out.  I want other people to learn more about my country."

How can we learn about the stories that have been erased in U.S. History to continue on the path of truth and reconciliation and further our commitment to keep learning about marginalized communities?

Why it is important to have an accurate American History?

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Have you ever heard about the year 1619?

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Working in small groups students identify what information is familiar and what information is unfamiliar about the Year 1619 and the lasting impact of slavery.


= Unfamiliar Information

= Familiar Information


Student's reactions to the overwhelming unfamiliar information identified:

  • We dont know a lot about our history and we can learn a lot more."--AO

  • "People must feel misplaced."--KP

  • "History has been erased for many many years."--IQ

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Students Reflected on the 4 Common Myths of Slavery

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Reactive FEELINGS:

Sad, upset, angry, depressed, very sad, forgotten betrayed, misplaced, alone, divided, not together, separated, DISAPPOINTED, bad, unknown, invisible, undiscovered, beaten, defeated, removed, excited to make change, impatient to learn the truth, unbelievable.


"I feel happy that people are acknowledging the truth."--SL

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Where are you in developing your cultural identity?

Cultural Identity

We are all at different places in our journey of developing our identity.  Self-reflection is a great tool to use when setting goals of who you are with consideration of the world around you.  Students reviewed information and identified where they were in developing their cultural identity.  They set a goal for themselves to get closer to who they wanted to be. 

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How can art inform us of our history?


Student's descriptive words of Queen Njinga

Queen Njinga

In this lesson, students explore the connection between art and storytelling, focusing on how art can serve as an empowering, self-actualizing and even cathartic form of self-expression.

"It is important to know the story so you can learn about her culture, history, and know the truth."--EP

"Before there was one story, now there are many stories about people who were enslaved and resisted."--EE

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Why is it important to consider our histories and cultural narratives through a lens that applies both critical thinking and empathy?

What can we gain from this practice?

Born on the Water

Reflecting on the book students identified emotions that coorisponded with the verses and images.

What made you feel that particular emotion?

  • “Love, because they were protecting each other.” --JBA

  • “Alone, because the people were being separated.” --LVP

  • “Sad because what they went through.” --AGS


What information did you learn about the history of Black Americans? 

  • “I learned that they weren’t always treated badly, they had a land of their own. Until the Portuguese came, they still pushed past, they changed our world, they changed our point of view, that’s because they never gave up.”  --MI


What elements of the culture of Black Americans did you notice in the story? How has Black culture been informed by the histories of Black Americans?

  • “They didn’t dance and sing just for entertainment, but to remember their culture.” --LMP

What elements did you admire?  Why? 

  • “I admire that they were still happy even though it was very difficult to survive.” --QTP


How did the cultural elements that you admired relate to your own culture? 

  • "They ate food that was special to them and they played drums, in Japan they play drums." --EO

  • "They were happy where they lived just like us.  They sang and danced in a special way to represent their culture just like we do." --AO

They played cultural music.

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What are altered books and how can I best use them to address cultural erasure?

Where am I in the process of creating my work?

Formative Assessment: Student Created Rubric

Students begin the process with listing the criteria for the project

Students then chunk the criteria where necessary to create performance tasks on the rubric

The information color coded where the criteria listed can be combined in one performance task

Students then list the skills necessary to master each performance task

Students can use the rubric multiple times by color coding their score to continually formative assess.

Students use this formative assessment to critically think about their work, identify where they are in the process, and where they need to go

How can we best share our work to promote our ideas about an inclusive and accurate representation of American History?

How have I made a commitment to seeking truth and reconciliation of an accurate and inclusive representation of American History?

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