America is often referred to as a “melting pot” and this is reflected in the multicultural nature of many of our schools. It’s therefore very important to create multicultural classroom activities that embrace the range of cultures represented; not only to help all students feel included but also to help the uninitiated explore your school’s rich diversity.
With that in mind, here are five easy activities that bring multiculturalism in your schools to life while also linking students, parents and educators.
1. Encourage students to “show and tell” the class about their heritage
Start by choosing a topic relevant to the students’ country or culture. As a homework assignment, the student and the parents will write about this topic, whether it’s an aspect of their culture (such as festivals, holidays, etc.) or family photos relating to their own or their ancestors’ story of coming to America. Projects will be shared with the class as a speech or “show and tell.”
2. Extend the invitation to their wider family members
Invite parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles (always great to include other family members!) to personally share a 15-minute presentation on their culture. The family may dress in cultural dress, bring pictures, or even share online images about their culture. Allow some time for students’ questions and let the kids satisfy their curiosity!
3. Organize a “showcase” night and connect through food
Each student is given a paper “doll” (think “flat Stanley”) to take home to be decorated representing their cultural heritage (including parental involvement, of course). A recipe from that culture should be included alongside this. Then, on a certain “showcase” night, the dolls are presented together complete with the recipe card. Students & parents are encouraged to bring a dish of the recipe to share for a potluck dinner. This can be done with just one or two grades at a time if the school is too large to arrange such a presentation in one night.
4. Make it real with field trips
Field trips are also a wonderful way to really see the fruits of multiculturalism. Visits to local workplaces, restaurants, museums, and government facilities allow students to witness diversity not only in the classroom but in the communities in which they live. (For those schools in large urban areas, this may be just a short walk away).
5. Encourage playful participation
Different cultures play different games – and which child doesn’t love games? Invite family members in to describe and demonstrate cultural games with the students. Students can play and learn!5 Great Multicultural Classroom Activities To Involve Parents - From The ClassTag Blog Click To Tweet
Teaching across cultures
Many American classrooms are multicultural, yet this is not always celebrated. That’s why it’s so important to teach our students about a plethora of cultures, foods, games, and knowledge about others that they may otherwise not experience. These five ideas can expand the horizons not only for the students, but for the whole school faculty.
Let’s stir the melting pot!