Sunday, April 5, 2015

Embracing Our Multicultural Classroom

My much needed spring break is finally here.  Since the school media center has been closed due to PARCC testing, I was not able to have the students check out books and complete the usual reading related assignment.  In reality, this turned out to be a blessing as after all of the testing my students have endured and will continue to endure after break, I wanted to give them a more engaging, yet relevant assignment.

The cyber bullying case that I wrote about a few weeks ago was amicably resolved and chalked up as a simple cultural misunderstanding.  However, it made me realize that while my class is quite diverse, my students still know little about one another's culture.  This is my fault.  Since my class as a whole seems to get along, it never dawned on me that the topics they discuss inside and outside of the classroom rarely involve their cultural heritage.  Therefore, my students have been assigned to research a country that another classmate hails from.  The rules are simple: this assignment must be at least one page long and students are not allowed to research a country that is on the same continent as the one that they call home.

I prepared the class for this assignment by asking each student to name the country or countries where they claim heritage.  As eleven countries across three continents were called out, the room began to buzz as students became excited about the possibilities.  Several students even asked if they could research two countries for extra credit.

I am excited to review the assignments that the students turn in and even hope to learn a few things myself.  In the meantime, I will be spending my break swapping time with middle schoolers for my two year old nephew.  I'm sure that after a few days with a toddler, teaching eighth grade will seem like a breeze.

No comments:

Post a Comment