UCLA Teacher Education Program Alumni and Guiding Teacher

UCLA alumni represent distinguished social justice educators in our public-school landscape, enacting pedagogy that connects theory to practice. The following video library depicts UCLA alumni creating their very own Best Practice Video. UCLA alumni share their practice and pedagogical thinking in these distinct, creative and varied approaches to social justice.  We connect the best practice videos to UCLA’s Teaching Framework, further actualized through the (ICOR) IMPACT, Classroom Observation Rubric.  ICOR includes four dimensions that include Content Rigor, Content Discourse, Equitable Access to Content and Classroom Ecology.

These videos demonstrate varied representations of social justice practices. We hope this video series inspires pedagogical reflection and a space where teachers and teacher educators might reflect and connect to their own context and students.

This work was supported by the Teacher Quality Partnership Program of the U.S. Department of Education under award number U336S140049 and the California Teacher Education Research and Improvement Network (CTERIN) in the University of California Office of the President (UCOP).

Unit-design: Powerful People, Powerful Words

Tamara Slade
In this video I explain how I backward plan and design a social justice and ethnic studies unit by starting with the California Social Studies Framework. I discuss how I integrate this unit with other standards, such as ELA, and give helpful tips for implementation.

Big Topics, Little Learners: Integrated Instruction

Haley Hood
In this presentation, I talk about using integrated instruction in a kindergarten classroom. I discuss the importance of integrating social justice topics and how it benefits our youngest learners to develop critical thinking skills and a sense of activism. I explain my design process for designing social justice integrated units and share an example from my kindergarten classroom.

Making Content Relevant: Addressing Current Events with an Ethnic Studies Lens

Gloria Page
In this video, I explain the importance of making content relevant to students’ lives through addressing current events. I show how I led discussions about Black Lives Matter, conducted a read aloud regarding the topic, and incorporated student led protests from the past to show students how it is never too early to be involved in change. Ethnic studies is possible in elementary education, and the lessons I share demonstrate that.

Cultural Affirmation through Cooking, Writing, and Family Involvement

Jenna Mirander
My presentation outlines methods for building classroom communities based on cultural affirmation and validation, specifically emphasizing the importance of family integration. By inviting students’ families into their learning communities, educators have the opportunity to validate and affirm students, their home lives and languages, and their cultures. I also delve into Writer’s Workshop as a learning platform that encourages student voice, students’ identity development, and provides opportunities for more family engagement. In my classroom, I have found that the inclusion of families into our learning communities has proven to increase student engagement, while also validating and affirming students’ cultural identities.

Big Topics, Little Learners – Vocabulary & Distance Learning

Chrissy Hann
In this video, I discuss how and why I have addressed social justice topics with young learners in the context of literacy and distance learning. I share a process for planning read alouds on social justice topics, a mini unit example, and some ideas on how to implement this work virtually.

Responsive Trauma-Informed Practices

Rachel Axelrad
In this video, I discuss a few responsive, trauma-informed practices that I use in my classroom. This includes room environment, creating a calm corner, and the language we use around problem-solving conflicts. All students deserve to feel safe and cared for in their classrooms. When we foster a feeling of safety for our young learners, they are better able to learn and grow!

Getting Started with Flexible Seating

Michelle Acuna
In this video, I explain and show how to get started with flexible seating in your classroom. I also go over the importance of classroom ecology and how to successfully implement flexible seating to enhance student learning. Flexible seating is a unique approach to traditional classroom design that benefits students’ well-being and love for learning.

Facilitating Teamwork: Building Community and Maintaining Strong Teams

Sophia Quiroz
Collaborative learning structures are a key component of a social justice oriented classroom. In this video, I’ll talk about how I build community amongst students at the beginning of the year, and how I leverage these relationships in order to engage students in productive team work. I’ll share resources for building and maintaining community and explain how I hold students accountable for their roles within a team.

Facilitating Cogenerative Dialogues to Create Opportunities for Student Empowerment and Increased Engagement

Ron Smith
Inspired by the work of Dr. Christopher Emdin and his book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too,” I discuss the impacts of facilitating cogenerative dialogues within an elementary school classroom setting. All students bring their community cultural wealth to their class, however, often times there aren’t opportunities for students to share their knowledge and experiences due to traditional education dynamics. In my classroom, creating cogenerative dialogues is a way for students to position themselves as experts who guide the curricular path as well as strengthen our class’ community cohesion.

Student-Led Conferences: Empowering Student Voice

Lauren Carr
In this video, I explain why I shifted from traditional conferences to student-led conferences. Student-led conferences empower student voice and provide powerful opportunities for students to advocate for their own learning. In my classroom I use student led conferences to increase family engagement, build relationships and let students lead their learning.

Beyond Turn-and-Talk: Student-to-Student Discussions as a Strategy for Promoting Student Agency and Engagement

Henry García
In this video, I discuss how student-to-student discussion protocols can be used as a strategy for co-constructing knowledge alongside students. Discussion protocols can be used throughout the day and in the context of any subject matter. In my classroom, I use discussion techniques as a way of elevating student voice and sharing the responsibility of teaching and learning with my students.

Teaching Vocabulary Using a Multi-Modal Approach (Dual Language)

Eva Luna
This teaching practice is centered around strategies that support students in their language development and proficiency. The example explores strategies such as games, music and poetry to support the acquisition of language. Additionally, the teacher explores strategies that support purposeful usage of vocabulary and authentic use of language through Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop.