Classroom environment

3C) Culturally relevant materials

Display and provide culturally relevant materials, including family pictures and cultural items from children’s homes. Include families in helping to select books, objects, and materials to display in the classrooms.

Video: A Letter From My Mom

In this video, parents are encouraged to write a letter to their child and drop it in a classroom mailbox. Children sort the letters into student mailboxes and then read them with the support of the teacher.
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Video: English, Spanish, and Chinese, too

This video is an example of an interaction between a teacher and a child that respects and promotes all types of language learning in the classroom. The teacher and child read together and build a conversation about speaking in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
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Strategy Overview: Ensuring the Presence of Each Child’s Language

This resource provides a comprehensive list and explanation of the actions teachers can take to acknowledge, affirm, and support multiple languages in the classroom. Included are tips for engaging with families as "language experts" and capturing their linguistic knowledge on a planning template, and phrase cards with basic greetings in 10 common home languages.
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Website Article: Choosing Diverse Books for Your ELLs – Tips for Educators

This article is a comprehensive collection of tips, video interviews, additional links, and resources to support educators in choosing books for diverse Multilingual Learners in the classroom.
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Blog: Tackling the Challenges of Implementing Diverse Libraries at Your School

Access to culturally relevant books is critical for Multilingual Learners. This blog offers tips and suggestions on how to build a more inclusive collection of books in school libraries. Many additional resources and tools are linked.
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Guide: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Contexts in Math Curricula

This guide helps teachers assess whether the context of specific math tasks is accessible and familiar for Multilingual Learners. In these resources, teachers can read about the dos and don'ts of situating math instruction in a familiar context for Multilingual Learners.
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Checklist: Supporting Emergent Bilingual Children in Early Learning

This checklist provides teachers with several strategies to support Multilingual Learners by providing students with a rich classroom environment that builds their home language and English skills. This resource encourages teachers to consider how to add labels, images, culturally relevant materials to the classroom for children to engage with. This checklist also provides a list of extra resources to learn more about supporting bilingualism, and is available in Spanish and Chinese.
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Tip Sheet: Creating Environments that Include Children’s Home Languages and Cultures

This tip sheet provides guidance on how to set up the physical environment to include children’s home languages and culturally relevant materials. This tip sheet also provides examples of labels and materials to include in classrooms and why including these materials is important for Multilingual Learners.
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Educator Toolkit: My Name, My Identity- Creating an Inclusive and Respectful School Community

This digital book supports the socio-emotional learning of students by introducing example lesson plans that center on Multilingual Learners' identity. The resource includes videos, book lists, lesson plans, and many extension activities and further resources to help teachers build a healthy, asset-based community in the classroom.
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Website: Environment and Materials to Support Dual Language Learners

This resource describes the ways that teachers can set up their classroom environments to support Multilingual Learners. For example, teachers can include labels and other functional print in the home language and display and provide culturally relevant materials.
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Policy Brief: Culturally Responsive Teaching

This downloadable policy brief dives into the research and discussion of 8 competencies for culturally responsive teaching. An infographic on the website offers a good preview of the content.
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Strategy Overview: My Name

Nothing is closer to a Multilingual Learner's identity than their name. This resource offers culturally relevant examples of how to engage in meaningful activities with children about their names.
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Video: Affirming Language, Culture & Identity

This video shares asset-based strategies for teachers to engage with families, develop the socio-emotional health of children, and set up a classroom environment to support Multilingual Learners. This resource focuses on preschool but the content applies to all grade bands. Examples come from dual language classrooms.
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Video: Personalizing Instruction through Environmental Supports

This resource explains several ways that teachers can provide high-quality language support materials. For example, teachers can display culturally relevant materials and labels in each language. Teachers can also learn key words and phrases in children’s home languages, including cognates, to emphasize the connection between English and the home language.
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Video: Environmental Supports

This resource shows the importance of displaying culturally relevant materials for Multilingual Learners in the classroom, including pictures of family members and important events in children’s lives. Educators highlight the value of children's identities being reflected in the classroom to help them feel included.
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