REACHING DIVERSE STUDENTS: Culturally Response Teaching


[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Rachelle Mulder



Are you looking for practical ways to reach all of your student's diverse needs? This class will allow you to empower your students to become stronger leaders in their learning. Zaretta Hammond’s book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, will engage you in a powerful, concise, easy-to-read, and classroom-relevant text. You will learn how to integrate culturally responsive pedagogy, equity, and brain-based learning to promote authentic engagement and rigor in your classroom.  A POWERFUL COMBINATION! 

The course is PERFECT for teachers to collaborate on their pedagogy and bring about change in their classrooms and is appropriate for grades P-12, including teachers, para-educators, counselors, and other support personnel.

The course text, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, by Zaretta Hammond, is approximately $33.00 at Amazon.

Educators who are not currently teaching should contact the instructor for alternative assignments.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Explored and become familiar with culturally responsive teaching.
  2. Explored and become familiar with equity issues that arise in schools.
  3. Explored and became familiar with brain-based learning.
  4. Viewed their school, classroom, and students through an “equity lens.”
  5. Grown as a culturally responsive teacher in knowledge and application in the classroom.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Text by Zaretta Hammond, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. (Print version or audio-book).
Approximately $33.00 from Amazon.

None. All reading is online.


Text approximately $33.00 from Amazon.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

Read the Introduction to our text, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Rigor and Engagement among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. (pgs. 1-10)

In a FLIPGRID video at, please record yourself answering the following questions to share with other class participants.

  • Introduce yourself, where you teach, what you teach, how long you have been teaching, demographics of the students you teach
  • Tell me about your family, pets, hobbies, anything that will help me know you better.
  • Share a little about your background in culturally responsive teaching.
  • What are some of the things that you hope to learn in this class?

Post your response.

Assignment #2: Culturally Responsive Teacher and the Brain

  1. Take the following survey by clicking on the link below.
  2. Watch the webinar:
  3. Read the following article from the Teaching Channel, which gives a brief overview.
  4. In a 2-3 page newsletter sharing your thoughts and impressions of Hammond’s webinar.

Post your response

Assignment #3: Climbing Out of the Gap

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

  • What does culturally responsive teaching mean to you?
  • What are some of your assumptions about culturally responsive teaching?
  1. Read Chapter 1: Climbing out of the Gap (pg.12-20) 
  2. Listen to the following podcast on the 4 common misconceptions of culturally responsive teaching.
  3. Take bulleted notes on the following T-graph while reflecting on Figure 1.2, Ready for Rigor Framework, on page 17.

Use the link to fill in the T graph with your notes while reading pages 17- 20.

Assignment #4: What’s Culture Go To Do With It?

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

  • What comes to mind when you hear the world culture?
  • How would you describe your cultural background?
  • Do you think race and culture are connected? How?
  1. Read Chapter #2 - What’s culture got to do with it?  (Pages 21-35)
  2. Watch the following video from 60 Minutes: Harlem Children’s Zone. 
  3. After watching the 60 Minutes video, share your thoughts through a Flipgrid video. 
    a) Share 5 questions you would like to ask the director of the program
    b) Share your reactions to the video as well through a Flipgrid video. (2 minutes)
  4. Read the “White privilege checklist.” PDF. Please do this checklist and share your thoughts in a 2-3 page reflection paper.


Post your response.

Assignment #5: This Is Your Brain On Culture

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

  • How do you think your brain “gets smarter?”
  • Do you think that culture affects learning?
  1. Read Chapter 3: This is your brain on culture. (pg.36-51)
  2. Watch this YouTube on the Upstairs and Downstairs Brain. 
  3. Create an 8 – 12 Powerpoint or Google slide show that you can use to teach your students about their upstairs and downstairs brain and how this will be applicable in their learning.

Post your response.

Assignment #6: Preparing To Be A Culturally Responsive Practitioner

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

  • What implicit biases are you bringing to your classroom?
  • Do you think you have blind spots around race, class, and language?
  1. Read Chapter 4 - Preparing to be a culturally responsive practitioner (Pages 52- 70)
  2. Answer 15/19 questions on page 57 that address “surface culture” and “shallow cultural beliefs.” Please respond to each question with 2-3 sentences per question, as appropriate.

Post your response

Assignment #7: Building the Foundation of Learning Partnerships

Think about the following question before you start this assignment.

  • Think of your favorite teacher...what made it feel like a partnership?
  1. Reading Chapter 5-Building the Foundation of Learning Partnerships (Pages 72-87)
  2. Watch the following YouTube video: Every kid needs a champion
  3. Look at Figure 5.3 on page 81 and in 400-500 words complete one of the following:   


  • Write a 2-3 page reflection on an experience that you could share with students to build rapport in the classroom

Post your response.

Assignment #8: Establishing Alliance in the Learning Partnership

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

How do you give students feedback?
What strategies have you used to deepen the engagement of your students?

  1. Read Chapter #6 - Establishing Alliance in the Learning Partnership. (pg. 88-107)
  2. Watch the following video from the Teaching Channel on debrief circle:
  3. Think about the “debrief circle” video. How could you use this format in your classroom?

Write a 2-3 page about how you could promote deeper learning and communication with your students.

Post your response.

Assignment #9: Shifting Academic Mindset in the Learning Partnership

Think about the following questions before you start this assignment.

  • How have you helped your students become more confident learners?
  • Think of a particular situation with a student.
  1. Watch the following video: “My Favorite No.”
  2. Read Chapter 7-Building Learning Partnerships.  (Pages108-120)
  3. After watching the video and reading, reflect on the quote below, and then share your thoughts in a 350-450 word letter to your future self about the kind of teacher you want to be for your students
  4. “Too often, we think of a student’s academic mindset as a personal choice or an expression of the family’s values of education. In reality, schools do a lot more to influence a negative academic mindset than we’d like to admit” (Page 112).

Post your response

Assignment #10: Information Processing

Think about the following question before you start this assignment.

  • How have you used culture reference points to make learning clear for students?
  1. Watch this YouTube video: Helping Struggling Readers: Reading for Their Life. 
  2. Read Chapter #8: Information processing to build intellective capacity. (Pages 121-141)
  3. Refer to page 128: Ignite, Chunk, Chew, and Review strategies.
  4. Create 4-8 Google slides that present the basic definition of each strategy and how you would use those strategies in your classroom.

Post your response.

Assignment #11: Creating a Culturally Responsive Community for Learning

Think about the following question before you start this assignment.

What do you do to create a sense of community in your classroom?

  1. Read Chapter 9: Creating a Culturally Responsive Community for Learning. (Pages 142-151)
  2. Think about your classroom and reflect on the rituals and routines you currently have or ones you would like to add to create a strong cultural ethos.
  3. Plan 2 new rituals or routines that you would like to try with your students. Share these 2 new ideas in one of the following ways:

Post your response.

Assignment #12: Epilogue

Think about the following question before you start this assignment.

How has reading this book changed the way you see your classroom?

1. Read the Epilogue (Pages 152-154)
2. Reflection: Plan a way to share what you have learned while reading
    this book by:

  • Writing a 2-3 page reflection paper.
  • Creating a 5-8 point Powerpoint presentation

Post your response



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #13: Learning Application-Gap Analysis

  1. Refer to the “Ready for Rigor” Framework (figure 1.2 found on page 17).
  2. Reflect on your knowledge about at least 3 bullets points in each of the
    4 quadrants in a 2-3 page paper: 
  • Awareness
  • Learning Partnerships
  • Information Processing
  • Community of Learners & ​Learning Environment.

Post your response.

Assignment #14: Lesson Plan

Complete one (1) of the following options:

Option A)

  • Adapt/create an activity or lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. Include descriptions, links to, or screenshots of any distance learning apps involved.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 400-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback or noteworthy student products.
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the lesson tab below.
  • Share what you've learned with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson.


Option B)
Use this option if you do not have a classroom or students available.

  • Adapt/create a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher
    with implementing culturally responsive practices that you have learned in this course.      

  • Please refer to the guidelines for our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon ( THI blog curator.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website.
  • Submit your article to your instructor via the Response field and the modified lesson via Submit Lesson.
  • As you submit your lesson, consider sharing it with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box.

Post your response.

Assignment #15: Focal student

1. Look at Figure 5.4 on page 84, Rapport interaction tally tracking.
2. Select a “focal student.”
3. Track your interactions with that student over the next week.
4. After the week, write a 2-3 page reflection or create a 2-3 minute Flipgrip
    video on what you learned through this process and how it will help you
    build relationships with students.

Post your response.

Assignment #16: 6 Culturally Responsive Brain Rules

1. Identify the 6 Culturally Responsive Brain Rules. (Pages 47-50)
2. Reflect on the evidence you see in your school or classrooms that follow
    (or don’t follow) the “brain rules.
3. Create a 6 slide PowerPoint or Jamboard presentation. Each slide will
    focus on one of the six rules.  Share the rule and how you see your school
    following or not following this standard.

Post your response.

Assignment #17: Identifying Your Teaching Style

1. Refer to figure 6.2 (page 99). Warm Demander Chart and read through
    the qualities  of each teaching style.
2. Highlight the personality traits you currently possess in yellow.
    (Shiny areas)
3. Highlight the personality traits you would like to possess in green.
    (Areas to grow)
4. What did you learn about yourself? How can you move towards becoming
    a “warm demander?” Share your thoughts in a 2-3 page reflection paper.

Assignment #18: Mindful Reflection Protocol

1. Review the “Mindful Reflection Protocol” on page 63.
2. Think of a student's behavior from the Shallow Culture that
    triggers your amygdala.
3. In a 2-3 page response, answer the questions from Step 1 – Step 6
    found on pages 63-64.

Post your response.

Assignment #19: Conclusion

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete two (2) of the following assignments: 

Option A)

  • Prepare a 10-15 minute presentation for your colleagues in which you:
  • Point to the 3 or 4 most significant insights or strategies you’ve learned from this course.
  • What makes them significant for you and your students?
  • Share how you might utilize these insights or strategies with your students this coming year.
  • How will you follow through on implementation?
  • Discuss how you might collaborate with your teammates (in this course or at your site) in implementing any of the approaches in your classrooms and/or share them with colleagues beyond your team.

Option B)

Find five (5) resources that provide additional learning on Culturally Responsive Teaching. These may be YouTube videos, online articles, studies, and/or curriculum materials. Document the key points you learned in a 500+ word paper. Include an analysis of how these resources support or contrast with the course text or assignments. Include a bibliography of your sources.  

Option C)
Create another assignment of your own design with the instructor's prior approval.

Post your response


Assignment #20: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Rachelle MulderĀ received her Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.) from Dominican University and her B.A. in Elementary Education from Pacific Lutheran University. Rachelle Mulder is an experienced educator with over 25 years of elementary and college teaching experience. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she has served as an ELA Instructional Coach for the State of Washington. This has provided invaluable experience working with teachers in their classrooms, planning and presenting professional development, and modeling and co-teaching lessons with classroom teachers. Rachelle has had the privilege of working with thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. She has taught Kindergarten-4th grade, Special Education, LAP, Library, PE, and Music. In addition, Rachelle has served as an Instructor at Whitworth University as well as supervising practicum students. She has taught in the following schools and districts; Shining Mountain Elementary, Bethel S.D., Liberty Ridge, Sumner S.D., Laura B. Sprague School, Lincolnshire, S.D, Brentwood Elementary, Mead School District, Prairie View Elementary, Mead School District. Teaching is a calling and privilege in her life.


REACHING DIVERSE STUDENTS: Culturally Response Teaching


Education, P. (n.d.). Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey: Panorama Education. September 19, 2021. survey

Hammond, Z. (n.d.). Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain.

Establishing Respectful Relationships with Students Requires Intentional Interactions Over Time. (2021, July 22). students-requires-intentional-interactions-over-time/

Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom. (n.d.). classroom

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Publiccharters. (2009, December 10). The Harlem Children's Zone. Retrieved from

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Upstairs Brain Downstairs Brain - SEL Sketches. (2021, April 14).

Debrief Circles. (2021, August 02).

HeinemannVideos. (2010, March 30). October 04, 2021