Capitalizing Families’ Funds of Knowledge in Schools

As a third year teacher, I would have to say that one of the biggest challenges is fitting everything into the school day. I used to think, “Six hours of learning? That’s plenty of time to get everything done!” Now, even though I have gotten a lot better at time management, it is still extremely difficult to squeeze everything in… Especially with the demands of our district and administration.

Now even though we are already squeezing everything in, it is essential to capitalize on families’ funds of knowledge in schools. At my school, E.W. Griffith, the first half-hour of the day is our socio-emotional learning (called Grizzly Den). During Grizzly Den, we talk about our school’s motto and core values (grit, growth, respectful, honest, engaged, and safe), as well as mental-health check-ins, team builders, and more fun things. However, this is truly the time I get to know my students best and build relationships with them. I believe it is because we build upon the families’ funds of knowledge. We acknowledge that our school is Title I, one-hundred percent of them qualify for free lunch, and around 86 percent of our students are Hispanic. Because of this, we learn a lot about the students’ cultures and who they are as a person as a whole.