K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Resources tagged with culturally relevant teaching are also tagged with these keywords. Select one to narrow your search or to find interdisciplinary resources.

Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools
These articles provide background on Latino immigrants in North Carolina, administrative challenges in binational education, and strategies through which teachers can build on what Latino students bring to their classrooms to create a learning environment that meets the needs of all students.
Format: series (multiple pages)
Children's literature promotes understanding
Bibliotherapy and critical literacy are two ways to use books to help children better understand themselves, others, and the world around them. This article explains both strategies and provides resources for selecting appropriate books.
Format: article
By Melissa Thibault.
Code-switching
Code-switching is the practice of moving between variations of languages in different contexts. This article explains the history of code-switching, explores important literature on the subject, and discusses approaches to language response in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Critical literacy
Critical literacy is the ability to read texts in an active, reflective manner in order to better understand power, inequality, and injustice in human relationships. This article outlines the history and theory of critical literacy and details its application in the classroom.
Format: article
By Heather Coffey.
Deaf learners and successful cognitive achievement
In Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice, page 3
This article surveys relevant literature on the cognitive potential of deaf learners and asserts that, under appropriate conditions, support, and instruction, deaf students can succeed in inclusive settings. Includes a list of ideal instructional conditions for deaf students in the inclusive classroom.
Format: article/best practice
By David S. Martin, Ph.D..
Differentiated instruction
An introduction to LEARN NC's resources for differentiating instruction for a variety of student populations.
Format: bibliography
Funds of knowledge
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 2.1
Teachers can use "funds of knowledge," the knowledge students gain from their family and cultural backgrounds, to make their classrooms more inclusive.
Format: article
By Janet Kier Lopez.
Making the most of culture kits
Culture kits — everyday objects from the country or region you're studying — can bring your lessons to life. This article will get you started using culture kits in your social studies classroom and gives contacts for borrowing culture kits from programs at UNC and Duke.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
The middle school challenge for English language learners of Mexican origin
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 3.2
English language learners of Mexican origin face numerous challenges in American middle schools, including cultural segregation and assumptions made by schools regarding the students' educational backgrounds. This article offers strategies for educators to help students overcome those challenges.
Format: article
By Mary Faith Mount-Cors.
Reaching every learner: Differentiating instruction in theory and practice
This series of articles, which balance theory, research, and practice, address a variety of topics within differentiation through text, graphics, and video.
Format: series (multiple pages)
The role of Mexican folklore in teaching and learning
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 2.4
One way teachers can connect with students of Mexican origin is by understanding the cultural knowledge they bring with them into the classroom, including the stories, proverbs, and legends they've learned. Learn more about Mexican folklore from this booklist and collection of online resources, and share this rich oral tradition with all your students.
Format: article
By Dayna Durbin Gleaves.
Teaching about Thanksgiving
Resources and activities to help you bring historical accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and a broader context to discussions about the quintessentially American holiday.
Format: article
By Kathryn Walbert.
Teaching contemporary Europe
We know how to teach Europe’s past, but what about the present? This article offers strategies and resources for teaching today’s Europe, using online resources from the Center for European Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
Teaching Latin America through film
This article offers teachers strategies for enriching student understanding of Latin America through films available free through the Consortium on Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. It suggests ways teachers can incorporate viewing directly into instruction through careful preparation and follow-up.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
Teaching the European Union
This article presents the European Union — often seen as an "extra" in instruction — as an integral part of the government, economy, history, and culture of Europe. It offers background on the EU, and ideas for deepening understanding of the EU every time you teach Europe.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
Teaching world cultures
According to the new Professional Teaching Standards, every North Carolina teacher must promote global awareness in classroom instruction. This article presents some general guidelines and specific strategies for global teaching.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
Using EUROPA to teach the European Union
Finding resources for teaching the European Union can be a challenge. This article introduces strategies for using free resources available on the official EU web site, EUROPA, to deepen understanding of the European Union.
Format: article/best practice
By Regina Higgins.
The value of oral history
In Oral history in the classroom, page 1
Why use oral history with your students? Oral history has benefits that no other historical source provides.
Format: article
By Kathryn Walbert.
When teachers don't understand
Teaching should be informed not only by the content of the discipline but also by the lives of the students.
Format: article
By Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D..