Cultural Diversity throughout the School Year

Our world is a giant melting pot and many classrooms reflect that diversity. Celebrations Around the World is one of my favorite units that celebrates different cultures. Wouldn't it be nice to have a center that celebrates cultural diversity all year long?

You can easily set up a diversity center with some books and a few reading response forms. I just added the pages below to my Reading Response & Book Bag file that would be perfect for this center.

Grandfather Tang's Story is a story that can be used with this center and enrich your math lessons, too. There is a tangram template and tangram sign included.

Some cultures and languages use an alphabet that is different than ours. Show examples of different types of alphabets. I recently visited my local thrift store and found the books below. Alef-Bet is a Hebrew alphabet book. The picture above is an example of an assignment that works with an alphabet book. You can click on the pictures below for more information about the books.

One of my favorite things about books is that you can travel without spending money. There is this big world out there just waiting to be explored . . . . with books!

Do you hang a map in your classroom? Too many times maps are something that is rolled up and put away after a lesson. I highly recommend hanging a map low enough that students can touch it, explore it, and talk about it. You will be surprised at how this quickly becomes "the" new hangout spot.

Maps are also a great way to show (document) the settings of the books you've read. Make a map themed bulletin board to show the settings of the books you've read to your class. You can also include a map with the cultural diversity center. I found this one at Lakeshore. It is about the size of a placemat - perfect size for a literacy center.

Introduce other languages with a cultural diversity center. There are many books that incorporate a few words of a different language that is perfect for this center.

Manana Iguana is the Spanish version of the Little Red Hen. The book is shown above in the picture. You can watch a video of it below:

Video: Manana Iguana 2:02
Safeshare link

Many girls add an American Girl doll that looks like them to their birthday or holiday wish list. It is familiar, relatable to them.

Characters in books work the same way for students. Have you ever had a student ask you where the books are in the library that look like him or her? After that happened to me, I made a conscious decision to look for books that have characters that represent our world.

SUGGESTION: One of the things I have found very helpful is looking at the publisher of books that I purchase. If you purchase a book that is published from another country, you will want to look at it very carefully.

In the picture above is a book called, "The Inspiring Stories from Aesop" by Kunwar Anil Kumar. When I looked closer at the book, I noticed that some words, although translated properly, may not be the choice of words I would prefer. The title of the fable in the picture is "An A#s in a Swamp". Although the word ___ is correct, I would have used the word "donkey".

The fable that we call "the boy who cried wolf" is called "false alarm" in this book. There are other differences that I found interesting and would make interesting lessons.

Just remember . . . . always preview books you purchase or parents donate to ensure the word choice is what you prefer for your class.

My husband's job has moved us from place to place. We currently live in the San Francisco bay area. I live halfway between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. There are several advantages of living here:

It is a culturally rich community.
Education is highly valued here.
It is heaven for people who love books.

Families place a high priority on education which means they purchase many, many, many books. When their children are finished reading the books, they donate them to the local thrift store. There is an overabundance of children's books at thrift stores. I can purchase children's books for 25 cents - $1.49 (chapter books). Most of these books have been gently used.

I have been purchasing used books, taping the edges, and leveling them (if levels are given on Level It or Book Wizard app) and hosting "Need Books? Giveaways" on my Facebook page.
Visit my FB page for my latest Need Books Giveaway. The theme is: Culturally Diverse Books. Here are a list of the books included with this giveaway. I will include Amazon links so you can read more about the books.

INDIA: Tenalirama
MALAYSIA: Hamid's Surprise
KOREA: What will you be Sara Mee?
AFRICA - Ghana: One Hen
SYRIA: Fatima and the Dream Thief
NATIVE AMERICAN - Hopi: The Warrior Maiden
CHINA: Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat
CHINA: Grandfather Tang's Story
JAPAN: A Day in Japan
IRELAND: Dreaming of America
VIETNAM: The Lotus Seed
CARIBBEAN: How many days to America?
AFRICAN AMERICAN: Something Beautiful
AFRICAN AMERICAN: Goin' Someplace Special
HISPANIC: Let's Read about Cesar Chavez
BILINGUAL: A book of Seasons - English & Spanish
Some SPANISH words: Manana Iguana
Some SPANISH words: Siesta
RUSSIA: Molly's Pilgrim
JEWISH: Alef-bet: A Hebrew Alphabet Book
JEWISH: Bone Button Borscht
DEAF COMMUNITY: Mother Goose in Sign Language
VARIOUS COUNTRIES: This is the Way we go to School 

Do you have any favorite books that I should add to this center?


Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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