Equitable education: Students Come From All Over
6 Ways to Celebrate Cultural Inclusivity in the Classroom
Creating an equitable education means many things, but as this quarter comes to an end, students (and let’s be real, teachers too!) are likely to be excited to share their cultural experiences in the classrooms. It can also be an enriching opportunity for students to understand others’ practices and traditions as well, making everyone feel equally celebrated. That’s why we have come up with a list of different ways that you can use project-based learning to celebrate the holidays this season.
1. Share Holiday Stories
Many holidays have a story or person associated with them. Learn more about these storytelling traditions and even entwine history lessons for your older students.
Have your students draw the person associated with their holiday and write a few sentences that share the 5 W’s and one H. This activity can serve as a great way to get students thinking critically while also working on their ELA skills. Once the assignment is complete, gather students in small or large groups to present this special person to everyone else in the class.
- Who is the person?
- What do they do?
- When do they visit? OR When were they alive?
- Where are they from?
- How do YOU think they do it?
MIDDLE SCHOOL (6-8)
With every person comes a good story! Have your students learn to animate using their STEM skills and applying this knowledge to a cultural fable of someone they honor during the holidays. You can use our lesson Animate Fables in Scratch , and you can even edit it to modify the lesson to your classroom’s needs.
HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)
Tie history research and literature together by having students research a winter fable, myth, or legend of their choice (or of yours) and create a report on how that individual became associated with the season. TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL by asking students to create a tri-fold or even dress up as that person to present them to the whole class on the last day of the report. Students may even be inspired to join the National History Day competition with their submission.
2. Cultural Bias Literature Review
MIDDLE SCHOOL (6-8)
As students get older, the context of what is presented to them becomes more and more important in all subject areas. Use the holidays to put students’ minds to the gear as you present a series of resources in STEM, history, or literature, and ask your students to consider how the author’s SPICE (Social stance, Political stance, Interactions with the environment, Cultural context, and Economic stance) could affect the way they present information. The Conversation has a great list of articles for examples.
HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)
Older students likely have a better understanding of what their culture is and how it may impact their everyday lives. Have students research an article that was published in the last year and write a letter to the editor about a potential cultural issue that was ignored in the publishing of the article. The letter doesn’t necessarily have to be sent, but if a student feels passionately enough about the issue, consider guiding them to a way to craft their letter properly.
3. Dumpling Exchange
Many cultures have a version of a dough stuffed with a filling that they eat as a comfort food. Host a Dumpling Exchange, where students bring in their version of this dish.
ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, AND HIGH (K-12)
For younger grades, you can host this as the end of the year party and even invite parents to join in on the festivities if you would like. For older students, you can have students write out the recipe or create a report on the origins of the dish. After all, what’s the holidays without a good recipe exchange?
4. Virtual Jet Setting
Get your students to travel the globe straight from the classroom. Use Google Earth to transport students to different cultural sites throughout the world.
Create a list of cultures with your students that they would like to learn more about. Then show them how they can create a PowerPoint or other type of presentation, and ask them to find 5 pictures that describe winter traditions in that country. When you show the Google Earth images of the country, allow students to share the pictures of those traditions with the rest of the class, focusing on the five W’s and one H.
MIDDLE (6-8) & HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)
Have students or groups of students randomly assigned to different countries throughout the world. Explore the world through Google Earth, and challenge students to create a video element to describe the cultural practice. You can use the Catalyze Challenge: Video Production Challenge with Vu Studio by logging into your Scoutlier account today.
5. Decor From All Over
Create a STEAM project with your students, as they learn about the ways cultures decorate for their holidays.
You can use paper lanterns, paper garlands, menorahs, and more to teach your students about shapes and culture. For younger students, focus on the two-dimensional shapes and have students create patterns. For older students, this can be a great way to introduce the scientific method. Have them create a hypothesis for how they would cut it out, write out the materials and steps that they used to create it, and a conclusion about how their hypothesis compared to their final result.
MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL (6-12)
Ask students to work in groups or as individuals to use our 3D Printing lesson to create cultural decorations from around the world. Each decoration should be accompanied by a report or presentation on the significance of the cultural element to share with the rest of the class.
6. Holiday Music Dance Party
One of our favorite elements of the holidays is the music that accompanies them. Looking for that day of class party playlist before Winter Break? Invite students to submit songs that they love to hear for their holidays. No report (or grading!) needed for this idea. Use the time to create a class culture of celebrating each other.
Equitable Education Starts in the Classroom
There’s so many ways to make education equitable, whether it be for those with special needs or make the classroom more culturally inclusive. No matter what, we always appreciate teachers who go that extra mile to make everyone feel included. If you do any of these strategies or come up with one of your own, we want to share it! Email use at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below to get in touch.