Cultural Diversity in the Classroom

May 13, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Cultural Diversity | 2 Comments
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Diversity in the Classroom

We need only to look around in the classroom to see faces that are so different than our own.  With these faces come different cultures and traditions.  How can we begin learning about each other?  By incorporating cultural information into daily curriculum.  This is not as hard as one would think.  In the next few paragraphs, I’ll show you how!

Just about every school has a unit on metamorphosis.  Instead of studying the butterfly, let’s study the Mexican Jumping Bean.  Yes, you read correctly, jumping beans!  Rather than watching a jar filled with twigs and a still pupa, the students will observe a moving seed carpal (seed segment) sporting larva that eventually go dormant, undergo metamorphosis, and release a moth.  Grown in the high Sonora dessert of Mexico, these magical seeds grow on tall bushes up in the mountains where they are harvested in early summer.  In the classroom they can be used in Math to calculate the frequency and distance a seed moves, in Science to experiment how heat and cold affect movement, in English to introduce Folklore, and in Geography when exploring the wonders of our world.  With each application, students have an opportunity to learn a bit about Mexican culture and the frijoles saltarines.

What is the origin or your name?  My name, Ramona, means great beauty.  Not Really – ha ha!  Ramona is Germanic or Spanish in origin and means wise or protector.  My son Lucas is a bringer of light and the origins of that name is Latin.  The name Layla is Arabic and means night.  What fun can be had in researching the origin of names in a classroom and celebrating each finding.

I love a crispy, hot french fry.  Where do you think the potato originates from?  Let your students guess and see what they come up with.

I have been teaching workshops on cultural diversity for several years now and I enjoy seeing the faces of educators light up when they realize how simple it is to incorporate cultural learning into everyday learning.  I am thrilled to receive emails from teachers telling me how they used the information we shared in a workshop with their students and how this led to some wonderful discussion.

I hope I have sparked your interest and you will join me again at this site to explore different cultures.

“Diversity is not about how we differ.
Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.”
Ola Joseph (inspirational speaker)

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2 Comments »

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  1. Frijoles saltarines really are hilarious! Brings back memories of first seeing them and being intrigued. You can find frijoles saltarines known also as Mexican jumping beans or brincadores at http://www.amazingbeans.com They have active frijoles saltarines sent directly to you in clear hinged plastic containers. They are great fun. and inexpensive

  2. This blog post is great! It gives you ideas on how to bring and use diversity in the classroom. Using the origin of children in the classrooms name makes it fun for the students becasue it is a part of them. They will be learning something about themselves if they don’t already know the origin of their name. I also like the thought of bringing food that we eat everyday and showing them where a specific food originally comes from and teach them about the place the food is from.


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