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How Does Poverty Influence Learning?

Within the confines of standard textbooks, teachers can often find multiple opportunities to connect a theme with their students’ lives. For example, there are many Shakespearean themes—such as jealousy and greed—that students can easily relate to if the connection is made clear. The tension between the Montague and Capulet families in Romeo and Juliet is similar to the tension that might arise if two lovers belonged to rival gangs or came from different cultures. Though it is an unfortunate situation, students in many urban settings can relate to the tensions that often lead to violence because of animosity between gang “families.” Examples that build on experiences and situations such as this will usually get the attention of students in inner-city environments.

Solving for X (In a Culturally Responsive CLassroom)

X + 4 = 10X (+ 4) = 10 (- 4)X = 6The left side of this equation is X‘s neighborhood. X is the top dog in his ‘hood and doesn’t like anyone else on his turf. Solving for X implies that X must be alone in its own neighborhood. When a number leaves the X dog’s block, it must change its operation. A positive number will become a negative number, for example.

Creating Similies (In a Culturally Responsive Classroom)

The crowd fell silent and was frozen in anticipation. Kobe Bryant soared like a bird over the court. Like an eagle, he flew over LeBron James and dunked the ball. The basket was a big nest, and nothing could stop him.