3 Easy Activities to Promote Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
As students head back to school, it’s essential for them to feel welcomed, acknowledged, and safe in their classrooms. With U.S. schools continuing to change to reflect our country’s increasing cultural diversity, students must learn cultural respect and inclusion. Here are three easy activities designed to help ensure a smooth transition and introduce the concept of cultural diversity to students. In addition, these activities will help foster relationships based on respect, equality, and diversity in the classroom. (These activities work best for children in grades K-3 but will work if modified for older children.)
Make It Fun!
Playing a simple game such as “I Am Unique Scavenger Hunt” allows students to share something unique about themselves and to understand and appreciate the differences between themselves and their classmates. In addition, this game will play a role in learning the importance of accepting others regardless of differences.
How to play “I Am Unique Scavenger Hunt”: Students share one thing about themselves that makes them special and unique. The teacher will then make a list of the facts without the names. Next, the children must ask each other questions to determine whose name goes where.
Another fun game is “Walk the Line, if…,” which is an excellent way for students to get to know one another. It also works to celebrate one another’s uniqueness and highlights how many parts of their identity they have in common with others.
How to play “Walk the Line, if…”: Have the students gather on one side of the room/line and face towards its center. The teacher calls out specific categories/labels/descriptions and asks all those to whom this applies to walk to the other side of the room/line. Continue with questions ranging from who wears glasses to who speaks another language other than English, etc.
All About Me!
Have each child create a one-page poster or book that explores their identity. The student will have the opportunity to write, draw or use pictures that tell who they are, where they are from, and what they like to do. This exercise allows them to understand their background and what distinguishes them from those around them. After the student presents information about themselves, take the time to mark a world map that will indicate where each person and family originates.
Explore Multicultural and Bilingual Books
Reading bilingual books highlighting different cultures, traditions, and customs allows teachers to help children feel comfortable with cultural diversity. In addition, they introduce children to different languages and enable them to delve more deeply into the languages represented in the classroom. Finally, these books are an excellent springboard to other activities, including vocabulary development, geography lessons, and craft activities based on the book’s theme. For more lesson plans and book ideas, visit Language Lizard. Many of Language Lizard’s bilingual books come with free lesson plans and activities to support diverse classrooms.
Benefits of a Culturally Diverse Classroom
One of the many benefits of having a culturally diverse classroom includes varied student perspectives, insights, and thoughts, allowing for a richer classroom discussion. Also, multicultural classrooms encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. And a culturally diverse classroom will better prepare students for their future in today’s ever-changing world.