It’s a Small World: Celebrating Cultural Diversity in Your Classroom
Your classroom is filled with students who represent cultures around the world. Whether they’re new to this country or their family has been here for generations, your students will enjoy the opportunity to dig into their background and share information about their culture.
And celebrating your students’ cultures does more than provide entertainment for your class. The more we know about other cultures, the better our understanding of the world around us. In fact, experts agree that learning about and celebrating different cultures can lead to greater empathy, enrich our lives, and provide opportunities for expanding our social circles.
As you kick off a new school year, take some time to consider how you’ll celebrate diversity in your classroom. Use these ideas to get you started.
International Holiday Calendar
Create a calendar that highlights celebrations around the world. Choose ones that represent the cultures of the students in your class. When a holiday comes up, take some time to discuss what it’s about and find simple ways to celebrate. You could make a craft, serve a treat, or read a book associated with the holiday.
Build a classroom library that includes books with characters who live in other countries or represent other cultures. For older students, include books written by a diverse array of authors as well.
You can read extensively about another culture, but nothing tops hearing directly from the source. Invite people from different cultures to come in and speak to your class. An easy place to start? Parents and grandparents of students in your class.
Games From Around the World
Include international games in your classroom and bring them out for indoor recess or classroom celebrations. Some easy-to-play games include Mancala, tangrams, and Ludo. And be sure to ask your students what their favorites are and invite them to bring a game from home to play.
Global Pen Pals
Encourage your students to write to pen pals. If you have students from a wide range of cultures in your class, you can pair students with friends or relatives of other students who live outside the U.S. If you need ideas to get started, check out this program. It offers project-based opportunities for getting to know other students, schools, countries, and cultures.
You can begin your year with a fair to celebrate cultural diversity in your classroom, or you can end the year with a celebration of everything your students have learned. Invite students to bring in food, games, crafts, or other items that represent their culture. Extend invitations to family members as well and invite other classes in your school to attend. You can even incorporate the fair into your curriculum.