Connecting while Checking for Understanding

Plan for strategic check-ins with marginalized students
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About This Strategy

Making connections with students, especially those that are marginalized, is a daily task.  Opportunities to connect with marginalized students can sometimes be missed if they are not planned for intentionally. This strategy is for teachers to plan to create connections with students and the content while monitoring them during independent practice.

Implementation Steps

  1. Interview students to learn about them on a deeper level. Make sure to prioritize interviewing marginalized students, defined as any student who is not meeting the school's academic, discipline and attendance outcomes/goals, as well as students who belong to student populations who are traditionally underserved by your institution. 

    • Use time during planning, recess (if elementary), lunch (if high school), or other spaces in the school day that allow for teachers to spend 15-20 minutes with a student.

    • Explore a topic of your choice with your student. The focus is not to learn simply what a student enjoys, but rather to understand the history around "why" they enjoy it.

    • Use the Connection Table below to gather information about students.

  2. Before a lesson, identify connections your students, especially marginalized students, have with the content during the planning of the lesson based on the Connection Table. Try to identify connections that the student might have to the learning objective.

  3. When students have the opportunity to work independently on a learning target, move around the room to monitor students' progress, taking the Connection Table with you.

  4. Use the above table to make connections with the students while circulating. As you circulate, you can both "check" and "connect" - connecting the student to the content while checking for understanding.