How to Celebrate Multicultural Diversity in Your Classroom
In 1993, the National Education Association (NEA) adopted Multicultural Diversity Day to “increase awareness of the tremendous need to celebrate our diversity collectively.” Since then, the third Monday in October has been designated to celebrate multicultural diversity in our schools.
Many classrooms are composed of a diverse student body, but regardless of your students’ backgrounds, recognizing multicultural diversity is important. Check out the NEA’s Diversity Toolkit for information about a range of diversity topics (e.g., class and income, cultural competence for educators, English Language Learners, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and social justice). Then, take a look at our list of activities you can incorporate in your classroom to celebrate multicultural diversity with your students.
Multicultural Diversity Classroom Activities
To celebrate Multicultural Diversity Day, start the day by sharing your cultural heritage with your students. Then, ask your students to share their backgrounds with you and the rest of the class.
Some other ideas for celebrating Multicultural Diversity Day are:
- Have students interview a parent or grandparent to learn more about their cultural heritage. Then, ask them to write up a summary of the interview or create a family tree or family coat of arms to display in your classroom.
- Have students share information about a food that is part of their cultural heritage. They can draw pictures of the food, volunteer to bring in food to share with the class, and/or teach their peers how to cook one of their favorite recipes.
- Let students research and design a flag that is associated with their cultural heritage to display in your classroom.
- Teach your students about different cultures by connecting them with a school from another part of the world or with an international pen pal.
- Play music from different cultures and teach your students traditional dances from around the world.
- For silent reading and book reports, have students choose from a list of books about diverse cultures. The NEA has a list of recommended reading for preschool and elementary students. For teens, visit this site.
Multicultural Diversity Professional Development
It’s important to celebrate multicultural diversity everyday with your students. For ideas about how to set up an inclusive classroom, read this article from Teaching Tolerance. In addition, check out, our course Building Cultural Competency to Improve Instruction and Student Achievement.